Does everyone feel nervous about seeing a therapist for the first time?
In a word, yes!
We tend to underestimate just how much it takes to seek help from a counsellor or therapist.
Maybe this is because mental health awareness is at an all-time high and many people, in many settings, are advocating 'talking to someone'.
Because, in reality, that is what counselling and therapy is; talking to someone.
But, before you have sat in a real therapy room, with a real therapist, you can't possibly know what it's going to be like, can you?
Why do we get nervous?
Nerves tend to creep up on us when we are facing an unknown situation.
And because we don't yet have information to tell us that said situation is safe, our bodies prepare us for the worst.
There are lots of things we don't know when it comes to our first therapy session.
Will I find the therapy room? Will I get lost on the way? Will I arrive late and what does that mean? Will I be able to park my car?
Other unknowns may include how you 'should' prepare or what kinds of questions your new therapist may ask you in the first session.
Is this normal?
Naturally, we all want to know whether our feelings and reactions are the same as other peoples' facing a similar situation.
Knowing that the way we are feeling is often how other people like us feel, can help to reassure us.
The answer is that because we are all individuals, we all respond to new situations in different ways.
However, my experience tells me that the vast majority of people meeting their new therapist for the first time, usually feel a sense of anxiety.
The good news
There is some good news! And it's this: in most cases, once you have found your therapist's therapy room, been warmly welcomed and offered a glass of water, it's likely that you'll feel more at ease.
Remember that we will always make it our priority to help our clients to feel comfortable. This is no more the case than when meeting someone for the first time.
We want this to be an easy, safe and comfortable process for you and we'll do as much as we can to help this be the case.
When I meet people for the first time, I explain what the first session will be like. This is because information can go a long way towards answering some of those unknown factors we discussed earlier, and therefore alleviate some of your nerves.
I share that the purpose is for us to begin to identify whether we are a good match for working well together and that all my new client needs to do is answer my questions as best they can.
There really are no expectations for how you 'should' be in your first counselling session, or ever.
I simply just want to meet you; nerves and anxiety included.