Choose a comfortable space for the session
This space could be a quiet corner of your house or simply a meeting room available at your workplace. It really helps to have a quiet place so that there are fewer distractions, and you can choose to focus all your attention on the content of the conversation. Plus, make sure you choose a space where you can retrospect, as it is important to reflect after your session is over.
Make a note of everything you would like to discuss
If you have a few topics you want to address in a session, make a list of things on a small piece of paper. It provides your conversation with a direction and can also help arrange scattered thoughts. Often, people feel intimidated to initiate conversations during their first session, and this could help with that as well!
Do not rush into a task right after the session
The process of therapy can be quite consuming. It requires you to put in your mental energy and invites you to look at the same things from a different perspective. This learning and unlearning may need a little time to get adjusted to.
After your session, take a buffer time of 5-10 minutes before getting back to your tasks. During this time, you can journal, take a short walk, drink a glass of water, take a few relaxing deep breaths, or stretch a little. This time-off allows you space to absorb and process everything that happened in the last hour. You can then proceed with whatever activities you have lined up.
Allow yourself to just be
Therapy, especially for first-timers, can sometimes be overwhelming. Discussing a particularly sensitive topic can bring up a whirlwind of emotions. Sometimes you may find yourself letting out a cry, feeling happy, or sometimes even feeling numb. All of these are natural and valid responses! Therapy can bring certain emotions to the surface that we rarely pay attention to. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings without being too hard on yourself.
Feel free to give your therapist feedback
Your therapist is always going to appreciate you being honest with them. If you have a suggestion for them, feel free to offer that. If something is not working out for you or making you uncomfortable, try to address that during the session. After all, your therapist is human and can benefit from a bit of navigation to figure out what works best for you.
If possible, plan your sessions in advance
It’s a good practice to decide the frequency of therapy sessions and book them in advance. It allows you enough time to come up with topics you would like to discuss in upcoming sessions and ensures that you can access a safe space for the session. Once you have confirmed your next session, it also lets you plan your other obligations accordingly.
Have faith in the process
Finally, remember that therapy doesn't quite work like medication. It may take a while to deal with your issues, and you might not notice an immediate change. You won’t be able to judge within a single session if therapy works for you. Give it a little time. The process is entirely internal, so it requires more time and effort. Be patient and trust the process before you come to a conclusion.