What To Expect In Your First Counseling Session

How To Choose A Therapist

The process of choosing a counselor should be one that you spend time in. Take as long as you need and feel welcome to shop around. There are counselors that can help with varying areas of life. Examples of areas in which counselors specialize in include marriage counseling, autism counseling, therapy for anxious kids, counseling for bipolar disorder, divorce counseling, counseling for co-parents, and more.

Visit our team page to read over our counselors.

Choosing a therapist includes the following:

  • Take time to do your research.
  • The counselors’ professional affiliations.
  • Shopping around and asking questions.
  • Understanding your goals and the counselor that would best support you.
  • Exploring the counselor’s educational background.
  • The counselor’s specialties.
  • Taking time to understand the counselor’s clinical approach.
  • Understanding The Types Of Treatment Approaches

Common therapy specialists to be mindful of:

  • Marriage counseling.
  • Anxiety counseling.
  • Depression counseling.
  • Bipolar counseling.
  • Marriage Preparation counseling.
  • Counseling For Personality Disorder.
  • Trauma Counseling.
  • Counseling For Kids.
  • Counseling For Teens.
  • Counseling For Caretakers.

When you are selecting a counselor to work with, take time to explore the counselor’s treatment approach. There are varying clinical approaches that counselors use. Each is heavily researched and often unique to the counselor. Some counselors choose certain approaches because they may feel confident in the researcher, have experienced positive outcomes when working with clients, or the approach fits their style of support.

From your end as the client, you can call the counselor and ask about their approach. This question will open up a deep conversation helping you see what the counseling sessions will look like moving forward.


Counseling Includes Documents

When you start working with a counselor, you will be given lots of paperwork. Our office, Santos Counseling PLLC, provides paperwork in two forms. One is electronic and the other a hard copy. The paperwork provided during a counseling session focuses on the following areas:

  • The client’s consent to agreeing to work with the therapist.
  • Payment and insurance details.
  • Medical history.
  • The counselors clinical and professional background.
  • Privacy and confidentiality.
  • Demographics.
  • The questionnaire focused on understanding why you are seeking counseling.


Preparing For The First Counseling Session

The first session can really push some internal buttons. You may feel nervous, hesitant to show up, or even insecure. To be honest with you, it is completely okay. You are showing up in a space with a stranger to share deep and intimate items about your life. It’s fair to say that everyone is welcome to have their own unique reaction.


It’s helpful to remember that counselors, therapists, psychologists, and all mental health professionals are trained to be non-judgmental. To provide you, the client with a space that is supporting, compassionate, loving, and free of judgment. Counselors at Santos Counseling PLLC, take time to welcome initial phone calls or emails prior to the first session. This gives you a chance to communicate with the counselor prior to the first meeting. Often this will help to remove any unwanted feelings or thoughts connected to working with a counselor.


The initial counseling session is the first step to a beautiful transformation. You will have the chance to share with your counselor your story, goals, challenges, and together develop a unique plan to you forward in life. The plan in the clinical world is known as the treatment plan. This holds information such as client goals, objectives, concerns, symptoms, and diagnosis. The goal is to use the treatment plan as a guide for future counseling sessions.


During the first counseling session the counselor will go over the following questions:

  • What brought you to start therapy?
  • What are the challenges and goals that brought you to seek therapy?
  • How long have you been experiencing the challenges that brought you here?


A common question that you can ask your counselors during the first session?

  • How do you practice confidentiality?
  • How long will treatment last?
  • How long does a session last?
  • Will I have a diagnosis?


You as the client can also use the first session as a trial. Take time to spend the 45 – 60-minute counseling session connecting with the counselor. This space will give you a clear idea of the counselor’s style, your comfort level, and an evaluation to identify if it is a good fit. You’ll find that sometimes it will be a good fit. While other times not so much. Please know that this is completely okay. It is not your fault nor that of the counselors. The decision of not moving forward together can be connected to ample areas such as the treatment approach not being one that you agree with.

How To Get The Most Out Of Counseling?

During your counseling sessions take time to ask questions and request feedback. You may find yourself receiving feedback on areas of concern or sharing your story. As you do this, try to find space to identify questions that would be helpful to your growth.


Common questions that can be of support:

  • Are there reasons why I struggle with this area of life?
  • Are there external resources that would support me?

Request Additional Support

Getting the most out of counseling includes requesting support outside of the counseling session. For instance, you can ask your counselor for homework or additional tools to use when you are not in counseling sessions. Santos Counseling PLLC counselors take time to provide homework outside of the session. This gives clients space to continue ongoing growth in and out of the counseling session.

Building Strength With Comfort

An additional area to be mindful of is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is very common to find yourself in a counseling session to find yourself feeling uncomfortable. This may sound odd. It is not a negative form of discomfort. Instead, it is a form of comfort that develops transformation. For instance, a person may have the goal of wanting to navigate through social anxiety. The person notices that they feel the activities are challenging. Yet, the ability to navigate the exercises directly works to improve in the area of social anxiety.

Counseling In Greensboro And North Carolina That Offers In Office Counseling And Online Counseling For Anxiety, Depression, Marriage Counseling, And Trauma.
Counseling In Greensboro And North Carolina That Offers In Office Counseling And Online Counseling For Anxiety, Depression, Marriage Counseling, And Trauma.

In addition to watching the video, you are welcome to learn more about Santos Counseling PLLC prior to the first meeting. 

A video that discusses ways to address Anxiety. CLICK HERE

A mindfulness journal, I created to help people address and manage mental health challenges. CLICK HERE

An anxiety self-help book. CLICK HERE

Facebook page. CLICK HERE

Counseling Talk, a YouTube channel that discusses mental health topics. CLICK HERE