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What to expect from therapy for a first timer

February 22, 2024

Woman with a backpack on starting at a Brooklyn therapist's office. As a first timer, therapy can be scary, but these 9 tips and tricks will help you overcome the anxiety of your first session.

Starting therapy for as a first timer can be a mix of emotions. Finding the right practice, the right therapist and knowing when you are “ready” can be confusing. You may be feeling a combination of anticipation, curiosity, nervousness and excitement.

Here’s what you can generally expect as first timer during your first therapy session at Manhattan Wellness:

1. Introductions

Prior to your first appointment you will fill out all of the necessary paperwork to get started, so all you have to focus on is getting to know your therapist. Your therapist will introduce themself, tell you a little about their role in your therapeutic process, and want to know more about you.

2. Discussion of Concerns

The first session is often focused on understanding why you’re seeking therapy and what issues or challenges you’d like to address. Your therapist will listen actively, ask questions to gain a better understanding, and encourage you to express your thoughts and feelings, within your level of comfortability. 

3. Establishing Goals

Two women sitting on a Brooklyn street drinking sodas and laughing. Going to therapy for the first time can be scary. Learn more about what you can expect with our Brooklyn therapists tips and tricks.

Your therapist may ask about your goals for therapy. What do you hope to achieve? Are there specific outcomes you’re looking for? Discussing these goals can help shape the direction of your therapy. It’s okay if you don’t have a clear idea in your first session of what your goals are, that is something you and your therapist will discover together.

4. Building Rapport

Developing a rapport with your therapist is crucial. They’ll work to establish a safe and supportive environment where you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and emotions. It’s important to be aware of what feels good for you in the therapy space, and be open with your therapist on how you are feeling – especially if you are feeling disconnected from them.

5. Questions and Active Listening

Your therapist will likely ask questions to better understand your background, experiences, and emotions. They will engage in active listening to gain insights into your situation.

White woman sitting at her dining room table in Manhattan working and reading the newspaper. First time therapy can be tough. Knowing what to expect from Manhattan therapy can put you at ease.

6. Assessment and Diagnosis (if applicable)

In some cases, therapists may provide an initial assessment or diagnosis based on the information you provide. This can help guide the course of your treatment, so both you and your therapist have a good idea on where to pick things up the next time you meet.

7. Setting Expectations

Your therapist may discuss the frequency of sessions, their duration, and any homework or exercises they might suggest between sessions. They’ll also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions and voice any concerns.

8. Emotional Experience

It’s normal to experience a range of emotions during the first session. You might feel relief from finally discussing your concerns, but you might also feel vulnerable or anxious. Your therapist is there to support you through these emotions.

9. No Immediate Solutions

woman sitting in bed drinking a cup of coffee in Manhattan. first time therapy can be scary, but let us break down what you can expect from your first session.

As a first timer, it’s important to understand that therapy is a process, and solutions or significant progress may not happen after just one session. Be patient and open to the journey of self-discovery and growth.

Remember, every therapist is different, and their approach may vary. Your first therapy session is an opportunity for you to determine if the therapist is a good fit for you. If you feel comfortable and hopeful about continuing, that’s a positive sign. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to discuss your feelings with your therapist.


At Manhattan Wellness, we understand that with all the messages we receive from the world, therapy can be scary. From social media, movies, and even people close to us, it can be hard to know what to expect in therapy sessions. That’s why our female therapists want to support you in building the confidence you need to reach your highest potential. Let us help you create an empowering therapeutic process that will benefit all aspects of your life, from personal to professional. If you are interested in beginning counseling for women:

  1. Submit a Contact Form or Email Us at
  2. Learn More About Our Team and Our Areas of Expertise
  3. Begin Seeing Yourself in a Whole New Light!


Our therapists understand that building confidence takes time and that other issues can come up along the way. To better support you, we offer a variety of services to cater to your individual needs. The therapy services we offer are Therapy for Self Esteem, Anxiety Treatment, and therapy for dating and relationship issues. As well as therapy for college students, support for maternal mental health, body image therapy, and so much more. Are you feel like you’re not living the life you want and need to make changes? Let’s talk about it.

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