The First Therapy Session:  What a Therapist Thinks

Many individuals attend a first therapy session wondering what the experience will be like; others are well-versed in the therapeutic process from years of engagement with other providers. Either way, it is reasonable to assume that a therapist will want to know what brought you to therapy, why now, and what change you hope to accomplish from doing the work.  Hopefully, your concerns will be met with a responsiveness that makes you feel heard, understood, and open to the process that is about to unfold.

The following questions inform my thinking in first sessions with clients:

  1. What brings you here today?  (your problem or concern)
  2. Why now?
  3. How often and in what ways does this problem impact your life?
  4. Overall, how would you describe your moods?  (sad, mad, hopeless, or stuck)
  5. What makes you feel better?  How have you coped in the past?
  6. Have you ever been in therapy before? 
  7. What is one thing you remember most about the time you spent with your previous therapist?
  8. What positive changes would like to see in your life? 
  9. How well do you get along with others?  (spouse, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues)
  10. What are your strengths? 
  11. What are your biggest areas of vulnerability?
  12. What do you hope to achieve from the therapy process? 
  13. How will you know when we are done? What will your life look like?

The process of psychotherapy helps individuals learn more about themselves and the way they experience their world.   It can support the development of healthy self–esteem, resiliency even in times of stress, and a greater capacity to thrive in all areas of social, emotional, academic, and occupational endeavors.

For a confidential phone consultation on how psychotherapy might provide benefits to you, please contact me at 224-408-0115, or email me at:

Warm regards,

Rebecca Strauss, LCSW