Depression and anxiety are extremely common among American adults. But while these conditions are highly treatable, the stigma about mental health in today’s society often keeps people from seeking the treatment they need. In fact, only about one-third of those who suffer from an anxiety disorder ever receive treatment.
If you’ve decided to pursue therapy for depression and anxiety through a cognitive behavioral therapy service, you probably have a lot of questions about how the process typically goes. This is especially true if you have never pursued any kind of therapy in the past. To set your mind at ease, we’ve put together a brief guide to what you should expect in your first CBT session.
When you make an appointment through a cognitive behavioral therapy service, you might have a general idea of how this kind of therapy works. Essentially, CBT allows you to look at your thought patterns and learn more about how they affect your behavior. By changing how you think about certain situations, CBT will allow you to change how you act and react. In cases of anxiety, depression, addiction, and more painful conditions, this approach can be highly beneficial.
During your first session, your therapist will likely ask you questions about your condition and background, as well as the concerns that you’d like to work on. They’ll want to know more about your physical and emotional health, both past and present, so that they can gain a fuller understanding of your circumstances. This first session will likely be dedicated to identifying the situations in your life that are troubling, painful, or harmful. In subsequent sessions, you’ll work with your therapist on discussing these issues at length, as well as becoming more aware of emotions and negative thought patterns.
Generally, these sessions are meant to be for the short term; many patients achieve their goals within 10 to 20 sessions, but your therapist will determine the course of action that will be best for you. But this first therapy session is not just for your therapist to learn more about you; you’ll also need to learn about your therapist. Use this time to determine whether you feel this professional is a good fit for you. You should have a good understanding of their general approach, how CBT can help your particular concerns, and the overall goal for your treatment. Any kind of therapy is an extremely personal process. If you don’t think your therapist is a good match for you or for your situation, you should continue to seek out a therapist (or other type of therapy) that is a better fit. This is truly the way to get the most out of your therapy sessions.
Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important that your treatment be tailored to your specific needs and desires.