What Happens During the First Therapy Session?

People seek therapy for many different reasons. Living in bustling cities such as Singapore can take its toll on your mental health. From daily pressures at school and work, relationship and family issues, to anxiety, depression, grief, and PTSD, psychotherapy can help you adjust to significant life changes, work through negative feelings, process loss and grief, improve your self-esteem, and rekindle closeness in your relationships.

Whatever your reasons for seeking psychotherapy, you will feel more at ease when you know what to expect during your first therapy session. So, here are five things that will most likely happen during your intake meeting.


1.     You Can Expect the First Session to Last Longer

Most psychotherapy sessions last from 40 to 50 minutes. However, the first session may last up to 60 minutes or even longer. So, you may want to clarify the length of your first meeting with the therapist ahead of time.

2.     You will be Asked to Fill Out Some Paperwork

When you arrive at the therapist’s office, you will be given some basic paperwork to fill out. You will most likely sign an agreement that will specify the details of what is kept confidential in psychotherapy. Your psychotherapist may also send you the paperwork via email before your first visit.

3.     You May Have to Answer Many Questions

From the therapist’s perspective, the first therapy session is about getting to know you, so they will want to learn as much as possible to assess your situation better. The intake session is usually pretty structured and involves many questions about you, your life, and your surface problems.

Be prepared to answer questions about your history, issues, goals for psychotherapy, and sensitive topics such as abuse or traumatic experiences.

While you may withhold from answering to these questions, the more you reveal, the more your potential therapist will be able to do their job effectively.

4.     You Will Want to Ask Many Questions

The better you understand how therapy works, the more comfortable you’ll be to open up and work on your issues. Before you go to your first session:

·       Prepare a list of questions for your therapist (the therapist’s academic background, affiliations, specialties, experience, fees, etc.)

·       Ask everything you want to know about the therapy process so you feel safe and comfortable to dig into your issues

·       Reflect on your reasons for seeking help and prepare to be honest about your feelings

5.     You May Experience a Range of Feelings

Your mind will probably be racing during the first therapy session, and it may take a while for everything to sink in. You may experience a range of feelings such as insecurity, shame, self-doubt, distrust, excitement, relief, and much more.

It is natural to feel nervous during your first meeting with the therapist. It is also likely that you’ll feel drained after the session, and that’s normal too.



Learning about what you can expect in the first therapy session can help you better prepare for your meeting and adjust your expectations. Keep in mind that therapy is a team process. To make your treatment as successful as possible, you need to participate in this process. After your first therapy session, you should reflect on the experience and decide whether you want to continue with the therapist.

Where private practice meets
A Space Between provides flexible co-working office spaces for rent to therapists and other professionals in Singapore.
A Space Between is a destination for mental health therapy activities. Counsellors utilise our many conducive therapy rooms for consultations. Located conveniently downtown and offering your independent therapists rent by the hour, we house many professional mental health practitioners, including LGBTQ+ friendly ones. To find out more about the therapists practising in A Space Between, write to us at [email protected].
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