You completed your first psychology session, nice work!
It might have felt daunting to make that initial appointment, wondering what might happen, worried if you would connect/ feel comfortable with your psychologist; however, despite these fears, you did it anyway.
Lean on the strength it took to book and complete session one to help keep up the momentum.
Remember, you can also share any questions or fears about the process of counselling with your psychologist, they will want to know so they can support you to find strategies to manage the process and pace.
So, what might you be feeling after your first psychology session?
Talking about yourself and revealing personal information can be quite emotionally tiring. You may have been reluctant to discuss these aspects of yourself in the past, or you may have found it challenging to discuss and so this process can take a bit of emotional energy.
Therapy also brings to light a lot about your emotions, unhelpful patterns and the ways that you respond to different situations.
If you’re not entirely aware of these aspects about yourself, it can be a bit confronting at times to process them and being to adjust and work on these between sessions.
On the other hand, you may feel quite energised and motivated after your first session because you have taken that first step to invest in yourself and your growth.
Just remember, therapy is a process. While you may feel a sense of relief or release after your first session, your concerns are unlikely to be resolved immediately – and that’s okay. Hopefully, at the end of your first therapy session, you feel proud for having taken the first step towards greater self-awareness and agency in your life.
4 things to reflect on after your first psychology session
Taking some ’buffer time’ to process the conversations you’ve just had and the strategies you’ve worked on after each session can make a big difference.
This might just be 15 minutes in a quiet space before getting back into work or your normal day-to-day responsibilities. After your first psychology session, you may want to reflect on any number of things including:
1. What prompted you to reach out for help in the first place?
It can help to keep this goal front and centre keeping in mind why you started this process to being with. Something wasn’t working or needed to change, and with change comes challenge and discomfort. But don’t worry, you are not alone.
2. What was one thing you took away from the session?
It might have been an “aha” moment, a sense of relief at unburdening, a new strategy to try. One hour with a psychologist is wonderful, but it’s also the work in between sessions that breaks old and destructive patterns that aren't helpful for you anymore.
3. Have your goals shifted, become clearer or fuzzier since your first session?
Share this with your psychologist – firstly they will want to know what you need to prioritise in session, but also can help you keep on track towards larger or primary goals.
4. Did your psychologist ask you to practice something, or think about something and have you avoided it or felt resistance?
Ask yourself why you might have not tried the strategy or avoided reflecting. Not to pressure you into doing this (you need to work at your own pace and feel comfortable each step of the way) – but consider where the fear, frustration or discomfort comes from…this is (in part) what is keeping you stuck, and stopping you from taking the steps forward towards your goals
So, what's next after your first psychology session?
Everyone’s journey is unique and it will be up to you and your psychologist to set goals around what to work through and how long you can expect to work together. With My Mirror your psychologist will leave you a summary & next steps recap after your session (usually within 24-48hrs). These notes and suggestions are meant to help guide you between sessions and keep track of your progress along the way. Examples of 'homework' may include:
- Monitoring different situations, your emotions, thoughts and reactions
- Keeping a journal or record of your self-talk
- Practicing the skills you’re learning in sessions like different relaxation or mindfulness skills, adjusting your thinking patterns or responding differently in situations
It’s about learning what does and doesn’t work for you!
If you have felt confronted by your homework, you forgot to complete it or haven’t felt motivated to complete your homework, talk to your psychologist about it and what got in the way.
Your psychologist is not there to be disappointed in you. They are there to help you get over the hurdles and you can always talk about these hurdles in your next session.
It is important to note that this homework should never be too time-consuming or arduous.
An analogy to compare this with is a physio asking you to do some exercises in between sessions with them. Yes, we’re all guilty of not doing this sometimes but taking a few minutes out of each day is when we see longer-lasting change.
Give yourself a pat on the back for getting started, and keep up the positive momentum to carve your best path forward.