Understand your financial obligation
Ask your therapist about their per-session fee, and how long a session is. If you have an extended health care plan through your place of employment then ask your therapist if they can bill directly to that plan. Before your first session check with your insurance plan to see if registered social workers, with Masters of Social Work, are covered in your plan. If your therapist does not direct bill to your plan then ask about receipts, as you will have to pay for the session and be reimbursed by your insurance later. Therapists at Turning Point are all registered social workers and you will require their registration number. Make sure this is on your receipt.
Your therapist will, from the first session, start to gather information about you
If you have a mental health diagnosis then be prepared to talk about this. If you are on medication for your mental health illness then make sure you know the name of the medication, the dosage and any side effects you are experiencing. This will be important.
Be prepared to take an active role in your therapy
Therapy is a collaborative process and you are the main participant so make sure you let the therapist know what you need from the sessions. Participate actively in setting goals, bringing forward matters of interest to you and asking questions. Some questions that you may want to ask include:
- What therapeutic approach do you use?
- How will we define our goals?
- Will you expect me to complete assignments to do between sessions?
- How frequently will we meet?
- Will our work together be short-term or long-term?
Before your first session, reflect on what it is that you would like to achieve in therapy
Be open and curious about yourself. Ask questions of yourself like:
- What emotions are most problematic for me, and when do they occur.
- When do I most find myself in distress, and when are the times that I feel able to cope.
- What do I want to change, and what have I tried before to get to that state of change?
- Who are the most important people in my life?
Preparation is important, and will provide you a sense of control over what will happen in the first session. There is, however, no need to figure out exactly what you will say to the therapist….it will happen organically in your conversation with him or her. Going into your first session with some clear goals about what you would like to discuss, and change, gives you a good start and orientates you to what you want to get out of the therapy relationship.