Seeking a therapist is becoming more common than ever, and for good reason. A professional does more than help you figure out how to practice better self care. They’re there to help you put research-proven steps into place to get you to where you want to be emotionally and mentally. If you want to go into your first therapy session as a bit of a blank slate, you certainly can. However, if you’d like to go in feeling prepared then we’ve pulled together some tips for your first visit.

Think About Specific Goals

You’ll go over this with your therapist, but be ready to get specific about what you want to accomplish or how you want therapy to make you feel (or not feel).

Think About Previous Experiences

Have you had a therapist before? If yes, try to think about what you liked and didn’t like about them.

What Challenges Are You Facing Currently

Letting your therapist know what the lay of the land is here can help them plan out the structure of your future sessions in a way that’s most useful for you.

What Made You Seek Therapy

Was there a specific incident that made you want to talk to a therapist? Or is it more a bunch of smaller things?

What You Already Do

Most people have things they turn to that make them feel better. Maybe it’s video games, or perhaps you like to open up a beer.

What Family and Friends Say

Have you had people close to you mention any changes recently? You might not have noticed differences in your mood, but they may have.

Leave Room In Your Schedule

Instead of scheduling something right after your appointment, try to leave some time to process any feelings you might have after talking with someone.

Be Ready for the Boring Bits

There will be billing and probably insurance questions to get out of the way, so be ready to answer those.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Look, you’re paying for this service. It’s okay to ask plenty of questions about what the process looks like.

Be Open to Trying Again

Don’t like the therapist you saw? Try another therapist before you write off therapy entirely. You don’t give up on dating entirely after a mediocre drink with someone, do you?