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What to Expect in Your First Session With an Ottawa Therapist

What to Expect in Your First Session With an Ottawa Therapist

Are you considering going for your first session with an Ottawa Therapist?

Deciding to see a therapist takes courage and awareness, as it means you are recognizing there’s something in your life that needs to change and you are actively seeking help for it.

After some web search or a recommendation you found an Ottawa therapist, counsellor or Registered Psychotherapist, booked the appointment, and the moment to show up arrives; what to expect? No matter who your therapist is, there is some common ground.

Knowing what to expect in your first Ottawa therapy session can help reduce the anxiety you might feel before the appointment.

Paperwork to be filled

Expect some standard documents as every Ottawa therapist must give you a Consent Form. This is really a contract that puts in writing basic information about the therapist and the conditions in which treatment will happen. Some important things that need to be covered are consent to treatment, confidentiality, fees, supervision (if applicable) and cancellation policy.

Ask about anything that is not clear to you and know that you are allowed to end treatment at any time.

It’s always a good idea to arrive 10-15 minutes earlier on your first Ottawa therapy session so you have enough time to read and fill in the forms before the actual session starts.

What do I Talk About?

Once your first session starts you might be thinking

What do I talk about?

What if I don’t know what to say?’ 

Think of it as a conversation where your therapist wants to know you and get an understanding of the issue that is bringing you in. Therapy offers a safe, nurturing, validating and, most importantly, a non-judgemental space for you to share your story. You don’t need to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable. The therapeutic relationship builds on time, and so will your trust.

Is the Ottawa Therapy Session Confidential?

Absolutely. What you share in therapy is confidential, with just a few exceptions. If your therapist fears you will hurt yourself or others he/she may act to intervene. Therapists are legally required to report domestic violence and abuse, or neglect that involves children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Also, if they receive a court order to release your files, they must do so.

Other than those scenarios, plus clinical supervision (if applicable), everything said in the therapy room, stays in the therapy room. You may address confidentiality concerns with your therapist at any time.

What If I am Taking Meds?

If you are taking medications or have any health concerns, the first session is a good time to let your Ottawa therapist know as it will give him/her a clearer picture of your overall wellbeing. Our body and mind are deeply connected, and some physical conditions or treatments may have psychological side effects.

Do I Need to Come Back?

After the first session, you will have a general idea/feeling of what comes next and if you would like to go back. Therapy is not a ‘quick fix’, and healing takes time. It is very important to know that you might feel worse before you start feeling better. Or you might start feeling better right away because now there’s a safe space for you to talk about what’s going on.

Either way, give the relationship a 2-3 sessions trial to get a better feeling/understanding if the therapist is a good match and if his/her therapy approach and course of treatment is what’s best for you.

Can I Meet the Ottawa Therapist Before Deciding if They Are Right For Me?

Many Ottawa Therapists do offer Free Discovery Sessions, a one-time meeting with the therapist of your choice. This gives you an opportunity to meet face-to-face to see if you feel comfortable with the professional. It’s important to note that it is NOT a therapy session, but an open space to get to know each other where you can bring any questions or concerns you might have.

Did I Miss Anything?

Do you feel more confident about what to expect during your first session with a therapist?

Did I not answer all your questions?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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