Frequently Asked Questions


This is my first experience in therapy, what can I expect from my first session?

First of all, kudos to you for taking the first step! The thought of starting therapy can be overwhelming and we’re honored that you’ve chosen us to help you along in your journey. The first 1-3 sessions are known as “intake appointments”. Which means we spend time reviewing policies and procedures, signing consent, and reviewing your rights and responsibilities as a client. This time is also used as an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some initial impressions of what our work together might include. At that point, we will discuss your treatment goals and create an initial treatment plan. Your first couple of appointments are focused on information gathering and your therapist will be asking a lot of questions. Once the intake process is complete the agenda of your therapy sessions will be determined by you.

How does therapy work? What is expected of me to get the results that I want?

Psychotherapy has both benefits and risks. The process of therapy often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your life and risks may include experiencing uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness.  However, psychotherapy has been shown to have significant benefits for individuals who undertake it.  Therapy often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, increased satisfaction in interpersonal relationships, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress, and resolutions to specific problems.  But, there are no guarantees about what will happen.  Psychotherapy requires a very active effort on your part to be successful, and you will have to work on the things we discuss outside of our sessions.

What do I do if I need help outside of session? When do I know that I need to use crisis supports?

Everyone experiences crisis differently. What a crisis is for one person may look different for another. It will be important for you to identify with your therapist what a crisis looks like for you, as well as the most appropriate resources, supports, and coping skills to use. If you feel that you may be experiencing a crisis right now your quickest links to support are calling 9-1-1, 2-1-1 Lifeline, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For additional resources please check out our resources page.

How often will I come to therapy?

During the intake process you and your therapist will decide the appropriate frequency to best fit your goals and needs. Typically, clients will start out with weekly or bi-weekly appointments and decrease the frequency overtime based on your specific goals. The ultimate goal is for clients to enter into “maintenance phase”, consistently utilizing skills and tools gained in your sessions and attending check-in appointments as needed.

What’s the difference between talking to you or talking to my best friend or family?

Friends and family can be great supports when you need help! However, there are several differences between talking to loved ones and talking to your therapist. Friends and family often have their own personal views, opinions, and feelings on the topics you want to explore. A therapist has the benefit of confidentiality, along with skills, tools, and experience to help assist you in your issues without anyone’s emotions involved but your own. Coming into therapy means coming into a space that is non-judgement and solely focused on you without fear of hurting or upsetting others. Along with this, rather than getting advice from friends and family, therapists empower you to find your own answers.

I think other people in my life need therapy. Can I still benefit even if they refuse to do it?

Absolutely! We are social beings and relationships are important to us. Even if a loved one isn’t willing to attend therapy with you, or on their own, working through interpersonal conflict can be a goal that provides you with clarity and insight. Sometimes, individual therapy can initially be more beneficial than family or couples work. Being able to identify your individual wants, needs, thoughts, and emotions can be very helpful in more broadly identifying relationship goals.

Eastside Mental Health Counseling

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