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What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session

So, you’ve decided to enroll in therapy. That decision in itself was a difficult one, but you did it anyway. Take a minute to pat yourself on the back, because it is an uneasy and courageous step towards your improved mental health. Now that’s out of the way, you’re likely asking, “What’s next?”. While processes vary from clinic to clinic, below are standard expectations:


  • Forms: Clinics will request you to fill in forms with information such as your identity (e.g., name, birthdate) and your medical history and contacts (e.g., Doctor’s information). Consider bringing your medication and psychological assessment history if applicable.

  • Consent: As an industry standard, you will be asked to read, understand and provide written approval of the services you are engaging in. This often covers the scope of services you will be receiving and outlines confidentiality and its limitations.

  • Appointments and Payment: Rules surrounding late, cancelled and missed appointments will be covered. Additionally, a summary of payment structure, duration and rate of service will be provided. Insurance companies sometimes specify between psychotherapy and psychology services. Knowing this will ensure you have the appropriate service.


  • Opening: Therapists typically start sessions with introductions and administration. They will also ask about previous therapy experiences, if applicable. Knowing what was effective and ineffective for you will help the therapist tailor your therapy plan.

  • Middle: You will engage in a conversation surrounding your concerns, symptoms and goals. You may be asked questions about your history such as childhood, education, relationships, career and living situation. Based on your response, the therapist will likely explain therapy approaches that are appropriate to you and your needs. Sometimes one method is used, while other times, a combination is personalized. While many people like to know how many sessions it will take, the answer is often unclear because it is based upon your self-work as a client.

  • Ending: This step varies between therapists, but common processes include summarizing your session, providing resources or homework, handling payment, and scheduling your next session. This is also a good time to ask any questions you may have.


  • This step isn’t always necessary, especially if it was discussed in the Ending stage of your therapy session. However, some therapists will send a follow-up email regarding your resources or homework, and receipts, if needed for insurance.

We hope you found this overview helpful in preparing for your first appointment. If you're interested in seeking couples therapy, individual counselling or therapy for your family or child, please find us at or call 416 949 9878

We cannot wait to meet with you!


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