What to Expect at Your First Psychotherapy Session

The decision to visit a psychotherapist is never one that is reached lightly. Aside from the perceived societal stigma that revolves around receiving a diagnosis or being placed on medication if necessary, there could also be the sense of extreme vulnerability that comes with sharing intimate details of one’s life.

Making that first appointment is hard enough, much less mustering the strength to actually show up for it. If you find yourself at a crossroads and unsure about whether seeking help from a psychotherapist is right for you, here’s what you can expect should you decide to keep that appointment.

Mentally Preparing for Your Appointment

Once the date is set, you may find yourself fretting over the prospect of sharing your life’s innermost details, and that’s perfectly fine.

Feeling a little (or a lot of) anxiety over your first visit is completely understandable, and is likely the reason why you chose to seek help. Instead of fighting these feelings, simply accept them as part of the therapeutic process.

Without getting to the root cause of what’s troubling you, the problem is never rectified, and the anxiety will continue to reoccur. Psychotherapists aren’t there to judge you or make you feel inferior, but rather are there to hear you out and give you the necessary tools that will guide you towards wellness.

Plainly put: it’s normal to feel anxious, and your first step towards wellness is keeping that appointment. Accept your feelings, show up on time, and be ready to share your own personal story.

Pro Tip: Before showing up, be sure to write down any concerns or questions that you may have for your therapist.

What Do I Talk About?

As the initial appointment is typically an information-gathering session, the psychotherapist will likely ask you a few questions regarding your life. Examples of this could include:

  • Family history

  • Past relationships

  • Asking about daily interactions and how they make you feel

  • Answering any questions or concerns you may have

Most sessions typically run one hour, and though it may feel like you are talking quite a bit, it’s an integral part of the fact-finding process.

This is a great opportunity to share those questions and concerns that you wrote down earlier. Every little bit of information that you can provide will help the therapist determine the best course of action.

Pro Tip: Don’t hold anything back. The psychotherapist’s job is to listen and determine the best course of action based on that information, not judge.

What Happens When the First Session is Over

At the conclusion of the first meeting, the psychotherapist will provide a tentative diagnosis. Not only does this appease the insurance company, but it also helps them formulate a treatment plan that takes your needs into consideration.

The end goal here, above all else, is to provide you with the tools necessary to live a fuller, healthier, and happier life. A diagnosis should never be viewed as a condemnation, but rather a word or phrase that helps your therapist guide your treatment plan, nothing more.

Pro Tip: Remember that you are not defined by your diagnosis. Continue seeking treatment, and be prepared to challenge yourself. 


If you’re ready to seek help for anxiety, depression, or anything else that may be interfering with your daily life, don’t hesitate to reach out. Give us a call at 208-345-2212 if you have any questions or need to set up an appointment. Our office is conveniently located just outside of downtown Boise near 15th and State Street.

Colin Eggleston