THE FIRST SESSION
During our first session, I will seek to learn some general information about who you are and specific information about what is happening in your life that is difficult to manage right now. I am open to hearing particular goals for what you want to work on and can also support you if all you know right now is that you’re feeling bad and don’t know where to start to make it better. I understand that making the decision to come to therapy can sometimes be difficult, and I respect your courage in seeking to improve the way you’re feeling. My goals in the first session are to help you feel comfortable, respected, and safe, and to begin learning about who you are and what I can do to help. We’ll also go over some of the basics of how my practice works, and I’ll answer any questions you have about either the process of therapy or myself as a clinician.
PLANNING YOUR TREATMENT
Within the first few sessions, we will discuss a treatment plan based on our mutual understanding of your needs. Some clients prefer open-ended therapy that allows them to continue until they feel ready to stop. Others, either because of preference or practical constraints, prefer a short, structured approach with a predetermined number of sessions. My interest is in doing what is best for you at this point in time. If we conclude together that my style or specialties are not a good match for your needs right now, I will be glad to offer some names of other therapists who might provide a better fit. If circumstances or new issues create the need to modify our treatment plan, we will do that.
The goal of my treatment is for you to feel better. Feeling better involves many things: understanding yourself, your feelings, your thoughts, and your actions; learning new ways to work through difficulties so that they’re more easily resolved; and modifying the things in your life that aren’t working well for you. In the course of feeling better, you will also come to know yourself better and to have an increased set of strategies for managing hard times both now and in the future. When you are ready to end therapy, we will spend some time talking about what your experience has been, what you’ve accomplished, and whether there is anything you didn’t get to that might be something you’d like to explore at a later time. I will support you in your desire to conclude this piece of your work at whatever time you’re ready.