Seeing a Psychologist for the first time can be really confronting and anxiety provoking. There are so many “rumours” about what Psychologist’s do. Some of the favourites are that we read minds or are constantly analysing people. Fortunately, this isn’t quite the case. Here is a little run down of what to expect:
- Your first session is really about getting to know you and your reasons for seeing a Psychologist. This includes understanding what has been happening more recently, and how things have developed over time. Its really important to understand whether your difficulties are something new, or whether they have been a re-occurring challenge for some time. During this process, you will get to see how the Psychologist works. While Psychologists are highly trained, we all work slightly differently and it’s important that you find someone you feel safe with.
- In the second session, you and the Psychologist may need to spend some more time understanding how you cope, what you are comfortable with and what scares you. However, its likely that by this stage you and your Psychologist are starting to understand your triggers and the factors that are maintaining your difficulties or keeping you stuck. This is really important, as together you can then decide what you want to target in therapy.
- The next phase of therapy depends on your difficulties and what your goals are. It may be that you first need safety and stabilisation in your world. From there, you may need to learn some new or different skills to better cope with your feelings or circumstances. You may also need to reprocess aspects of your life in a more compassionate and self-accepting way. It may also include you learning how to develop a good support network and plan for when things get hard again in the future.
Its important to remember that there is no set structure for how therapy must go, however funding restrictions mean that it can be really helpful to have some goals to work towards.