This openness is encouraged and in fact critical throughout the process of therapy, not just in the first session. All of your thoughts and feelings are welcome in therapy, no topic is taboo. Clients are encouraged to bring into therapy whatever comes to mind. Whether this be free associations, current conflicts, relationship worries, dreams, fantasies, memories, aspirations and disappointments. All of it is fodder for the mill.
During your first visit, we'll discuss what issues are bringing you in, as well as the history of that concern. We'll also discuss your history in general--what was your childhood like? what were pivotal events in your life that you think may be having an impact on the current concerns? Any medical history that may be important for me to know, previous therapy experiences, etc. We'll also get to know each other so that we can determine if this is a good fit. The fit between the therapist and client is critical to the success of therapy, as change happens in the relationship. So clients are encouraged to openly express any questions, concerns or hesitations they have about therapy or whether this is a good fit.
Once we have determined if this is a good therapeutic fit, we will set up a schedule for therapy. The frequency of sessions (once a week, two to three times a week, etc.) and the duration of the therapy depends largely on the client's needs and goals. While I do work with individuals on a short term basis, most of my clients come in seeking more long-term personal growth and substantial changes in their lives. Therapy is often like peeling the layers of an onion. So how deep you want to go and are willing to go, depends on you.
Contrary to popular belief, therapy is not for sick people. It is often the healthiest person in a family who seeks help. And therapy can be hard work, it's not always fun and happy. So it is truly a strong person who chooses to do the work and to stick with it.
However the payoff is amazing.
Of course, cost is a concern to many patients, so I do offer a sliding scale in cases of personal need, and for those seeking extensive psychodynamic work multiple times a week. Sessions are 45 minutes long, and I do require 24 hours notice of cancellations or there will be a charge
for the session.