So you’ve decided to begin individual therapy with a psychiatrist. It’s common to feel a little nervous before starting something new if you don’t know what to expect – especially when it includes talking about highly personal topics and struggles. Knowing ahead of time what individual therapy entails can help ease your anxiety and ensure you have a successful experience.
For your first session you will be invited to share with your psychiatrist what brought you here today. They will likely follow up with a comprehensive list of questions to give them a greater understanding of your situation. These questions will generally include your symptoms, current circumstances, and personal history.
In therapy sessions you will work with your therapist or psychiatrist to face particular struggles that are challenging you and learn to relate to them differently. You can more easily decide whether therapy is helping if you have goals for it. You may know there are certain feelings or experiences you’d like to get rid of, such as overwhelming sadness or recurring fears. The next step is to ask yourself how you’d like to feel in the long-run. Do you want to feel a sense of self-acceptance or inner peace, for example? If so, make those your therapy goals!
Talking about your struggles may stir up some distressing emotions while you are working through them. However, if at anytime it becomes too overwhelming, be sure to let your psychiatrist know. Therapy sessions should be taken slowly and at your own pace.
Coping mechanisms are imperative for keeping you safe and comfortable. When an external situation may cause you to feel anxiety or distress, coping skills will help you remain calm and in control of your emotions. This will help you in your daily life to overcome your struggles as well.