top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlayna Dorfman

What to Expect in Your First Counseling Appointment

Updated: Jul 9

Starting therapy can feel like stepping into the unknown, especially if it's your first time. Whether you're dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, or simply seeking personal growth, knowing what to expect during your first counseling session can create a sense of uncertainty. 


a therapist sitting on a blue couch talking to a client, going to therapy, therapy in st petersburg fl

Starting therapy can feel like stepping into the unknown, especially if it's your first time. Whether you're dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, or simply seeking personal growth, knowing what to expect during your first counseling session can create a sense of uncertainty.


At Be Your Best Self & Thrive, we all are in therapy or have been in therapy ourselves, so we truly understand how overwhelming it may feel to take that first step. To help ease any anxiety you may feel about starting therapy, in this blog we'll walk you through what to expect during your first counseling appointment with us. From the moment you walk through our doors to the initial conversations with your therapist, our goal is to make sure you feel comfortable and understood. We believe in a holistic approach, which means we look at you as a whole person—mind, body, and spirit—ensuring that every aspect of your well-being is considered. By sharing our personal experiences and comprehensive care, we hope to provide you with the reassurance and support you need to embark on your therapeutic journey with confidence.


We know that starting therapy is a significant decision, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. Let's explore the process and help you feel ready to begin your journey toward becoming your best self and thriving.


Key Takeaways for What to Expect in Your First Counseling Appointment


  • Starting therapy can feel overwhelming, but it’s a common and normal experience

  • Techniques such as mindful breathing, journaling, visualization, and gentle movement can help ease pre-session nerves

  • Your first session may include introductions, discussion of personal history and current challenges, goal setting and holistic assessments, and more.

  • Acknowledge that the first session can be emotionally challenging and it’s okay to communicate discomfort. 

  • Be Your Best Self & Thrive Counseling prioritizes easing clients into therapy by creating a serene, comforting environment and offering personalized care and support. Techniques like mindful breathing, a self-care station with relaxing herbal teas, and empathetic, patient-centered approaches from therapists help new clients feel more at ease as they begin their therapeutic journey.



Easing Pre-Session Nerves


Feeling nervous before your first session is normal, but there are several techniques you can use to help ground yourself and ease those feelings. 


Here are a few suggestions:


  • Mindful Breathing: Take a few minutes to focus on your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold for a count of four, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety.

  • Journaling: Write down your thoughts and feelings about starting therapy. This can help you process your emotions and gain clarity on what you hope to achieve.

  • Visualization: Imagine a place where you feel safe and relaxed. Spend a few moments visualizing this place and notice how your body and mind respond.

  • Gentle Movement: Engage in light stretching or a short walk. Physical activity can help release tension and clear your mind.


Arriving at Be Your Best Self & Thrive Therapy Practice


When you arrive at our cozy Bungalow, you’ll be welcomed into a serene and comforting environment. One of the first things you'll notice is our free and complimentary Self-Care Station offering homemade herbal tea, coffee, and candy! 


Our BYBS brand tea, BE Calm, is a specially formulated herbal blend (created in collaboration with Blush Tea & Coffee) of lavender, lemon, and chamomile designed to help relax any mental or physical tension you may feel before your counseling session begins. Take a moment to enjoy a cup, breathe deeply, and allow yourself to settle into the peaceful atmosphere. 


jamie molnar sitting on a green couch talking with her hands with a notepad on her lap, therapy in st petersburg fl, going to therapy

What to Expect During Your First Counseling Session at Be Your Best Self & Thrive


Your first counseling session at BYBS is designed to make you feel comfortable, understood, and prepared to begin your therapeutic journey. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what you can expect from the moment you arrive to the conclusion of your first session:


Introduction to Your Therapist


  • Your therapist will come to greet you and walk you to their office, ensuring you feel welcomed and at ease.

  • They will provide a brief overview of what to expect during the session and answer any immediate questions you might have.


Creating a Safe Space


  • Your therapist will discuss confidentiality, explaining how your privacy is protected They will invite you to share your reasons for seeking therapy in a safe, non-judgmental environment.


Personal History and Background


  • Your therapist will ask questions to understand your personal history, including your family background, education, work, relationships, and any past experiences with therapy.

  • They will also want to know about your current mental, emotional, and physical health, including any medical conditions or medications you are taking


Current Challenges and Goals


  • You’ll be encouraged to talk about the specific challenges that brought you to therapy. This can include stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or any other concerns.

  • Together, you will begin to identify your goals for therapy. These can be specific (e.g., reducing anxiety) or more general (e.g., improving overall well-being).


Holistic Assessment


  • At BYBS, we take a holistic approach, so your therapist may ask about various aspects of your life, including your diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and social connections.

  • Your therapist might introduce you to some holistic techniques such as mindfulness exercises, breathing techniques, or specific  self-care practices.


Developing a Therapy Plan


  • Your therapist will work with you to create a personalized therapy plan. This plan will outline the focus areas for your sessions and the therapeutic approaches that might be most beneficial for you.

  • They will explain how these methods align with your goals and discuss what you can expect in future sessions.


Initial Interventions


  • Depending on your needs, your therapist might introduce some initial interventions or coping strategies. These could be simple mindfulness exercises, journaling prompts, or relaxation techniques that you can practice between sessions.


Open Dialogue


  • You will have the opportunity to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have about the therapy process.

  • Your therapist will ensure you understand the next steps and feel comfortable with the plan moving forward.


Setting Up Future Sessions


  • At the end of the session, you and your therapist will discuss a schedule for future appointments. Regularity and consistency are key to effective therapy, so finding a time that works for you is important.


Final Thoughts


  • Your therapist will provide some final words of encouragement, ensuring you feel positive about the progress you’ve made in this first session.

  • You’ll leave the session with a clearer understanding of what to expect and hopefully a sense of relief and readiness for your therapeutic journey.


Your first session at Be Your Best Self & Thrive is a significant step towards better mental and emotional health. It’s a time for you and your therapist to get to know each other, set the foundation for your therapy, and start working towards your goals in a supportive and holistic environment. 


Remember, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions after your first session, and your therapist is there to support you every step of the way.


What If Your First Session Feels Too Hard?


It’s not uncommon to find the first session emotionally challenging. You’re opening up about personal topics, and that can feel overwhelming. Remember, it’s okay to take things at your own pace. If you feel the session is too hard, communicate this to your therapist. They are there to support you and can adjust the pace to make you feel more comfortable. If you realize you’re not quite ready for therapy, that’s okay too. Your therapist can help you plan for when you might be ready to return.


What If You Don’t Feel Comfortable with Your Therapist?


Finding the right therapist is crucial for your journey. If after your first session you feel unsure about your therapist, give it a few more sessions to see if the relationship develops. Sometimes, initial discomfort can stem from the newness of the experience rather than the therapist themselves.


However, if you still don’t feel comfortable, it’s perfectly okay to seek a different therapist. Trust your instincts—your comfort and sense of safety are paramount. At BYBS, we prioritize making sure you feel safe and understood. You can always talk to our staff about exploring other options within our practice.



The BYBS Team


At Be Your Best Self & Thrive, we are dedicated to fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for every client. We believe in empowering individuals to achieve their fullest potential by providing personalized care, understanding, and encouragement. Our holistic approach ensures that each person receives the guidance and resources they need to thrive in all aspects of their life. 

Through compassion and expertise, we strive to create a safe space where clients can explore their strengths, overcome challenges, and grow into their best selves.


BYBS Clinician: Rochelle Young


headshot of rochelle young a therapist in st petersburg fl at be your best self and thrive, going to therapy, therapy in st petersburg fl
Rochelle Young, LMHC

One of our clinicians, Rochelle Young, is currently accepting new clients. Rochelle understands the nerves that can come with starting therapy, especially if it’s your first time. Her patient and calm essence can help alleviate your anxiety the moment you walk in. Rochelle uses a person-centered approach, giving you the driving wheel in navigating your therapy session, ensuring that you feel in control and supported.



If you are interested in scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with Rochelle Young, Get Started Now!


headshot of nicole malene  a therapist in st petersburg fl at be your best self and thrive, going to therapy, therapy in st petersburg fl
Nicole Malene, Grad Intern Therapist

BYBS Clinician: Nicole Malene


Nicole will be accepting new clients in fall 2024 for online sessions. Her compassionate and understanding nature makes her an excellent choice for those seeking therapy in a virtual setting. With a deep commitment to providing empathetic and personalized care, Nicole creates a safe and welcoming space for clients to explore their feelings and experiences. Nicole's approach is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual, making her an ideal therapist for those looking to embark on their journey toward healing and self-improvement from the comfort of their own homes.


headshot of jamie molnar a therapist in st petersburg fl at be your best self and thrive, going to therapy, therapy in st petersburg fl
Jamie Molnar, CEO

BYBS Owner: Jamie Molnar


Our owner, Jamie Molnar, deeply cares about people feeling comfortable during their first session. Her commitment to creating a welcoming and supportive environment is at the heart of everything we do at Be Your Best Self & Thrive. Jamie understands that the initial step into therapy can be overwhelming, and she strives to make this transition as smooth and reassuring as possible. Her dedication to fostering a sense of safety and trust sets the tone for our practice, ensuring that every client feels valued and understood from the very beginning. Jamie’s approach reflects our core values at BYBS, where the focus is always on providing compassionate, client-centered care that promotes healing and personal growth.



Frequently Asked Questions About Going To Your First Counseling Appointment at Be Your Best Self & Thrive in St. Petersburg Florida


What should I expect during my first therapy session at Be Your Best Self & Thrive?

During your first session, you will be welcomed into a serene environment and introduced to your therapist, who will ensure you feel comfortable and understood. You will discuss confidentiality, share your reasons for seeking therapy, and provide your personal history and background. Your therapist will also explore your current challenges and goals, conduct a holistic assessment, and develop a personalized therapy plan with you.


How can I manage my anxiety before my first therapy session?

It's normal to feel nervous before your first session. Techniques to ease anxiety include mindful breathing, journaling your thoughts and feelings, visualization exercises, and gentle physical activities like stretching or walking. Be Your Best Self & Thrive also offers a self-care station with calming herbal teas to help you relax upon arrival.


What if I feel uncomfortable with my therapist after the first session?

It's important to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. If you feel unsure about your therapist after the first session, give it a few more sessions to see if the relationship develops. If you still don’t feel comfortable, it’s perfectly okay to seek a different therapist. Your comfort and sense of safety are paramount, and Be Your Best Self & Thrive staff can help you explore other options within the practice.


How does Be Your Best Self & Thrive ensure a holistic approach to therapy?

The practice takes a holistic approach by considering all aspects of your well-being—mind, body, and spirit. During your sessions, your therapist may ask about various aspects of your life, including diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and social connections. They might also introduce holistic techniques such as mindfulness exercises, breathing techniques, and specific self-care practices.


What if my first session feels too emotionally challenging?

It’s not uncommon for the first session to feel emotionally challenging as you open up about personal topics. It’s okay to take things at your own pace. If the session feels too hard, communicate this to your therapist. They are there to support you and can adjust the pace to make you feel more comfortable. If you realize you’re not quite ready for therapy, your therapist can help you plan for when you might be ready to return.


How can I prepare for my first therapy session?

Preparing for your first therapy session can help ease your nerves. Consider practicing mindful breathing, writing down your thoughts and feelings about starting therapy, and visualizing a safe, relaxed place. You might also want to engage in some light physical activity to release tension. Arriving a bit early to enjoy the calming environment and self-care station at Be Your Best Self & Thrive can also help you settle in before your session.


How frequently should I attend therapy sessions?

Regularity and consistency are key to effective therapy. During your first session, you and your therapist will discuss a schedule for future appointments that works for you. The frequency of sessions can vary based on your individual needs and therapy goals, but finding a consistent routine is important for progress.


What if I have more questions about the therapy process?

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have about the therapy process. Your therapist is there to help you understand each step and ensure you feel comfortable with the plan moving forward. Open dialogue is encouraged to make your therapeutic journey as supportive and effective as possible.


A Personal Reflection from the BYBS Content Creator


Starting therapy can feel like a big step, but remember, you’re not alone in this journey. At Be Your Best Self & Thrive, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Your first session is just the beginning of a path towards healing and personal growth. Embrace the process, trust in yourself, and know that our dedicated team is here to help you thrive.


Let’s be our best selves & thrive!


headshot of alayna dorfman social media writer at be your best self and thrive in st petersburg fl, going to therapy, therapy in st petersburg fl
Alayna Dorfman, Content Creator

13 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page