Feeling anxious about seeing a Psychologist for the first time is very common.. Your Psychologist is very aware that you are going to feel this way. Their first priority is to help you feel comfortable and listened to. Clients have found the following tips to be helpful:
- Have a look at the website and Social Media platforms of the practice or the psychologist you are attending. This can help to feel like you have got a sense of who they are
- You are always welcome to call the practice ahead of time and drop in for a casual look aroundIf it makes you feel more comfortable, look through your transport route ahead of time, and aim to be 20 minutes earlier for your appointment
- Speak to your family about how you are feeling. Consider asking someone you trust to accompany you to the first appointment. They don’t have to sit in the session, but it may be nice to have some company in the waiting room.
- If your appointment is for a young child, you may want to talk to them ahead of time about where they are going. Packing water, some light snacks and comfortable clothing helps too. Sometimes a light cardigan can help with cold air conditioning.
At your first appointment you can expect:
- To fill up some paperwork providing you information about your confidentiality as well as gathering some of your personal details such as your address and contact details.
- Your Psychologist will be interested in listening to your story and some of the symptoms you have been experiencing so they have a thorough understanding of what you are going through
- Collaborative goals and therapy aims are likely to be touched on in the first session and built on in subsequent sessions
- Your Psychologist will want to answer any questions you may have
- With young children, Psychologists adopt play and activities to engage with your child to help them feel safe and secure
- With adolescents Psychologists are keen to get to know you as people with your own interests, thoughts and ideas about your world and what you need
If you are wondering how to open up the conversation with your child or adolescent about seeing a Psychologist, you may find it helpful to:
- Explore sites such as https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/ and https://kidshelpline.com.au/ as a way to open up the conversation together
- Watch the practitioner videos on our website and explore our social media platforms (this often gives children and young people a sense of the people they could see
- Children and young people know what it is to have a coach help them with sport, or a teacher help them learn something new, going to a Psychologist can be explained this way as well – it is a chance to talk about the difficult feelings and situations they are facing and have someone to help them with what they can do.
We are always happy to talk with you further if it helps with those first appointment concerns.
Valerie Ling, MClin Psych, BA(Hons), MAPS, Clinical Psychologist has a passion for helping people find their voice and continue to write their life’s story. Committed to prevent burnout and empowering individuals to life an effective life, she is the Director and Founder of The Centre For Effective Living.