Preparing Yourself for Your First Mental Health Visit

Preparing Yourself for Your First Mental Health Visit
Credit: Naibuzz

Seeking help from a medical professional is nothing to be ashamed of. People can go to a specialist for a variety of reasons. With the help of the right mental health professional you will be able to live your life to the fullest while contributing to the well-being of the society too. However, if you are not comfortable with the professional then that can be an issue.

Thankfully, knowing the general procedures and preparing yourself beforehand can go a long way in making the most even out of your first visit.

The specialists come from different professional niches. Some might specialize in childhood trauma, whereas others might be working at inpatient centers and have more first-hand experience in mental health first aid.

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Regardless of what their experiences are, or what your reasons are if you are mentally ready to seek help and you know what to expect from your visit to a professional, you will be on the right path straight away.

The First Time

The first visit with a mental health professional is the break-in period. There are introductions and pleasantries exchanged to make sure both the patient and the professional are comfortable around each other.

What you seek from the professional can vary, maybe you are looking for a short-term solution for your problem or maybe your problem requires maintenance sessions. Either way, it is recommended that you talk and if you have questions, be sure to ask them.

Making sure that you and your therapist are on the same page is absolutely necessary as you two will be working together in the long run. Moreover, the therapist will surely ask some questions that might make you uncomfortable. Try not to be too uncomfortable as he is working for your betterment.

It is not a one way question stand and you can ask your questions too. This will help in breaking the ice. Some relevant questions include:

  • When and how many sessions are we going to schedule?
  • Has someone else come to you with a similar issue?
  • What kind of improvements can you expect?
  • What medications will he prescribe? and you should tell the therapist about your current medicines.
  • Has the therapist worked with people who have similar problems or goals as yourself?
  • You can also talk about the process that the therapist will use for mental health betterment.

If you are not satisfied with the answers, you should not continue with the therapist.

The Patient-Therapist Relationship

You can easily manage your anxiety by knowing what to expect from each subsequent session. You should start from scratch and always disclose your complete medical history to the doctor. This should include mental health issues as well as any substance abuse problems that you may have had.

This first disclosure is so important that it can significantly speed up your recovery process.

You should note that this disclosure can be a little uncomfortable and you might have to deal with stress. Moreover, you should be ready for some open-ended questions. These might include questions like, “What brings you in today?” or “How are you doing these days?”

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Please bear in mind that there are no wrong answers. While you may experience intense emotions, you just have to speak your mind. Furthermore, sessions might hit on disturbing memories that cause you mental health issues. Just talk to them about what you are feeling and they will guide you through it.

A treatment regime is usually set at the end of the first session and can include a schedule, medication, clinical tests, and if you require some extra professional help a referral.

Sometimes the first session is not the best one. It might stress you out. Disclosing your issues can cause a lot of anxiety. However, you should try and relax and disclose these sentiments with your doctor on the spot. This will allow him to manage you in a better way.

You are not alone; it is okay to ask for help. Timely help can go a long way in helping you achieve your life goals and live life to the fullest.

Sophia Oliver
The author is a nutrition and dietician graduate who works as a health freelance content writer and as well as a copy editor. Along with other novels, Sophia has also published about many health-related technologies, advancements, and physical fitness. Being an all-rounder makes her stand out in the line.