Mental health in America is declining at a rapid rate. About 25% of adults are dealing with a mental health diagnosis, according to Johns Hopkins. This means that the demand for psychiatrists is at an all-time high. The good news is that this means you should have plenty of options for a certified mental health professional in your area.
If you’re someone who has never seen a psychiatrist before, you might be feeling a little apprehensive about your first appointment. Here are six ways to help you feel more comfortable and get the most out of your first session.
1. Research Psychiatrists Ahead of Time
It’s important to find a psychiatrist with the precise experience and training required to assist you. You can research a psychiatrist’s background and specialties online. This is a great way to ensure that they’re equipped to guide you on your healing journey. You should also find a psychiatrist whose personality matches or meshes well with your own. After all, you’re going to have lots of lengthy conversations with this person! Therefore, it’s ideal if your psychiatrist has a personality that makes you feel comfortable and at ease.
2. Consult With Other People in Therapy
If you know anyone who’s currently in therapy, ask them about their experiences and what they think makes for a successful psychiatrist-patient relationship. They might also be able to give you some insights on what topics to bring up during your first session. Speaking with someone who’s been down this road before is a great way to prepare yourself.
3. Choose a Convenient Location
It’s essential that you choose a therapy model that suits your own comfort levels. If you have anxiety or apprehension about traveling long distances, then you should ensure you find a psychiatrist within close proximity to your home. You may even be interested in telehealth appointments. This allows you to receive counseling right from the comfort of your home. Many patients find this ideal for the convenience and comfort it provides.
4. Prepare Before Your First Session
You’ll want to have an idea of what you want to talk about going into your first session. Many psychiatrists will ask you why you’re seeking therapy and what your goals are for treatment. It can be helpful to write these answers down ahead of time so you don’t forget anything important. This can also help you feel more prepared to tackle your therapy session with confidence.
5. Be Open and Honest
For therapy to be effective, you need to be transparent with your psychiatrist about what’s going on in your life. Such honesty can be difficult, but try to remember that your psychiatrist is there to help you and is not there to judge you. Be prepared to disclose details of your life that you might not share with others. Remember that your psychiatrist is a professional who is bound by privacy laws to keep everything you say confidential.
6. Ask Questions
Your psychiatrist will ask you lots of questions during your first few appointments. However, you should use this time to ask questions yourself! Therapy is not, in fact, a one-way street. Treat your first session like a conversation or a getting-to-know-you session with your psychiatrist. Ask them about their specific credentials and approaches to therapy. This will help you gauge their ability to assist you with your specific goals.
Seeking therapy can be a big step, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. By doing a little research and preparing ahead of time, you can ensure that your first therapy appointment is a comfortable and productive one. If you’re ready to experience the tremendous benefits of therapy, give SouthEnd Psychiatry a call today. We look forward to helping you.