Starting the Healing Journey: My First Therapy Session

How I turned fear, anxiety and depression into empowerment after my first therapy appointment.

October 16, 2023

In my first therapy session, I uttered the words “I’m gay,” for the first time, and my therapist’s response was exactly what I needed.

I was struggling with everything in my life

During my undergrad, everything was going wrong. I was at risk of losing my on-campus job, running out of money, being put on academic probation, and struggling with my sexuality. I turned to alcohol, thinking it was a solution, but it only made things worse.

Negative thoughts swirled around me daily, and confusion took over. I tried everything from drinking, ignoring my negative thoughts, dating men, and praying my issues away, but nothing worked. I knew I couldn’t continue like this, and my mental health was reaching my breaking point.


I needed to find a non-judgmental, shame-free space to learn how to find clarity and self-acceptance. Luckily, a professor saw me struggling and suggested therapy.

My first therapy appointment

I was extremely nervous before my first therapy appointment. As I sat down and the therapist introduced herself, I immediately blurted out, “I’m gay.”

Without hesitation, the kind, compassionate therapist said, “Ah, Michelle, I am honored you would share that with me.”

This response was the best thing she could have said to me. I felt seen, heard and safe.

Over the next few months, we worked together on how to come out to my parents. The more time we spent together, the more I accepted myself.

Booking my first appointment​

Scheduling your first therapy appointment can be intimidating and takes courage, but remember, you’re not alone.

Here are five tips to make your first therapy session less intimidating:

1. Realize therapy is a safe space

Therapists are there to provide support and non-judgmental listening within a safe, confidential environment. The first session might feel a bit awkward, but rest assured, this is a natural experience. Many people feel excited and apprehensive before their first therapy session, and this is a positive sign that you are taking the necessary steps toward personal growth and well-being.

2. Set realistic expectations​

Therapy is a journey, not a quick fix. Do not expect the first session to solve all your problems. Approach it with an open mind, willing to explore and address your concerns gradually. Understanding that progress takes time can alleviate some of the pressure.

In time you will discover a growing sense of comfort and trust as you and your therapist work together to address your unique needs and challenges. Remember, therapists are there to provide support and guidance, so the more you share, the more your therapist can help you and help bring you closer to a mentally healthier, happier you.

3. It's okay to have concerns about painful memories or thoughts resurfacing​

It’s completely normal to have concerns or fear that painful memories or thoughts will come up during therapy. The good news is that you set the pace for each session and decide what you want to share when you’re ready.

The reality of therapy is that things may get worse before they improve, but a skilled therapist will create a safe and supportive environment to help you navigate and process these difficult emotions, ensuring your well-being throughout the therapeutic journey. 

4. You’re worth making the change​

It’s vital to remember that you are worth making the change and investing in your mental well-being. The decision to attend therapy is a powerful affirmation of your self-worth and a commitment to a happier, healthier life. Embrace this opportunity with confidence, knowing you deserve the support and healing therapy offers.

Repeat after me, “I am worth it!” Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

5. Choose the right therapist​

Take your time in selecting a therapist whom you feel comfortable with. You can research their background, read reviews, and have an initial consultation to see if there’s a good rapport. Feeling connected with your therapist can make the process less intimidating and can alleviate the intimidation factor, making it easier to open up and work through your challenges.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

Final thoughts

Even today, I vividly remember how I felt when I walked out of my first therapy appointment, finally feeling heard for the first time. When you’re ready to take that first step towards being heard and seen for who you are, remember, that the space for healing and understanding will be waiting for you, just as it was for me.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou


Whether you’re curious about finding the right therapist, booking an appointment, or if you have additional questions, I am here to help.

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