If you are struggling with your mental health, relationships, and key life decisions, then seeing a counselor can be a lot of help. However, counseling is a two-way street. Even if you were to see the very best counselor in the world, you would have to put in the effort in order to get the most out of the experience. What does that look like? Well, here are some tips to get you started at your first counseling session.
Choose a counselor who suits your needs
Different counselors have different specialties. Try to find someone whose experience is in line with your needs. For example, if you need help navigating difficult relationships, then you should look for a counselor who has experience in relationship counseling. If you need help dealing with anxiety and worrying, look for a counselor who specializes in helping patients through their anxiety and worrying.
It's not unusual for the issues you're seeing a counselor about to feel a little embarrassing or hard to talk about. You do not have to share everything with your counselor at once; you should share as you feel comfortable. You should, however, be honest in everything that you share. Your counselor cannot help you if they do not know the truth. If you struggle with lying and find it hard to tell the truth, try to open up to your counselor about that. They can then use language that guides you toward truthfulness and helps you feel more comfortable when sharing sensitive topics.
Schedule your session at a convenient time
If you schedule a session when you're really busy, exhausted from work, or otherwise not in the best mindset to think of focus, you won't get as much out of the experience. So, try to schedule your first counseling appointment at a time when you can focus. This might mean taking a few hours off from work or canceling plans with a friend, but so be it. Your mental health and relationships and the counseling that supports them are important enough to set aside other plans.
With the tips above, you can get more out of your first counseling session. Just remember that this is only your first session. It is a starting point that you can build out from. See how it goes, and then schedule another session where you can go more in-depth with your needs.
Contact a local counseling service to learn more.