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Your First Appointment

Before Your First Session

Each therapist does things a bit differently but here are some of the things you can expect.

Email paperwork.  After you decide to proceed, your therapist will send you an email.  This email will confirm the date, time and place for your first appointment (also called Intake). Attached to the email you will find paperwork for you to complete and bring to your first appointment. The forms are also on this website, including explanations of each form’s purpose.  The forms provide you with information about our policies and give your therapist information about you.

Paperwork: Complete the paperwork and bring it to your first session.  If you have questions, just leave the question blank until your first session.

Prepare:  You also will want to prepare for your first session. Your therapist will explore the following questions with you so you will get more about of your intake if you have thought about these questions before you come..

  • What problem or problems bring you to therapy now?
  • What life events led up to your decision to get therapy now?
  • What do you want to get from therapy?
  • Are you looking for a particular type of therapy (e.g., DBT, EMDR, CBT)?  If so, what made you decide on this approach? Learn more about our approaches to therapy

You may or may not get to all of these questions your first session but it’s good to be prepared anyway as you will come back to these questions as your therapy goes forward.

Make a list of questions: Make a list of questions you would like your therapist to address.  Since there is a lot to do in your first session, it’s possible you won’t get all of your questions answered but don’t be discouraged. Your therapist will answer all of your questions in the first session or two and likely you will add to your list of questions as time goes on.

Your First Session

There are three primary purposes to your intake.  Your therapist will gather information to get to know you better.  You will get your questions answered.  And to begin developing a relationship of trust.

Each therapist will address the tasks in a different order depending on your situation. Some will go into depth on a few tasks while others will address all the tasks briefly and come back to them again later. But you will get around to all these tasks sometime in your first session or two.

Review paperwork. Your therapist will review your paperwork with you to make sure it is complete and answer any questions about the paperwork. With this task, you also will discuss our policies and procedures, talk about how and when to contact each other and clarify financial arrangements.

Discuss assessments:  You will review and discuss your responses to: the Difficulties in Regulating Emotions Scale (DERS) and the Ways of Coping Check List (WCCL).  These assessments will give your therapist a starting place for your therapy..  You will complete these assessments roughly every six months to assess your progress in therapy.

Discuss what brought you to therapy:  Here’s where your preparation will pay off.

  • What problem or problems bring you to therapy now?
  • What life events led up to your decision to get therapy now?
  • What do you want to get from therapy?
  • Are you looking for a particular type of therapy?

Your story:  Your therapist will ask you to tell your life story as it relates to your presenting problems. This is not intended to be every detail of your life story, just the parts that relate to your presenting problems at this point.  You likely will talk about your family of origin, any support you get from family or friends, any history of substance abuse or self-harm and past suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Your questions.  Instead of holding your questions until the end, it’s most effective to ask your questions when they are relevant.  Your preparation will help you think of your questions as the topics come up.  Likely, other questions will come to you during the course of the session.  Your therapist might ask to defer the question because it will be answered later or say the question is bigger than can be addressed in this first session. Be patient. You will get answers to your questions.

Wrap Up: In the last few minutes of the therapy session, your therapist will like summarize what was accomplished and what remains to be done.  She will likely ask how you feel about the session.  If it feels like a good fit, you will talk about what comes next; then discuss a day/time for weekly appointments and confirm your next session..

It’s a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. So it’s important to have realistic expectations.  You likely won’t get everything done and, if you do, not in the depth you would like.  Have patience and take hear. You will continue to address the tasks and your questions as time goes on.


Call 314.932.7415 or email us for your free consultation. smartphone-SMALL

Our experienced therapists will give you a warm welcome as you begin work toward your therapy goals. Call us today!


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