Online therapy meeting of woman with psychologist. Female lying on couch at home talking with counselor, using laptop for conference call video chat. Technology, psychology, youth, mental health

There are many reasons why you’d want to start therapy. It could be because it was a recommendation from your doctor, because your parents signed you up, or because you have some issues you want to work out. Whatever the reason, you’ve made the next step toward your recovery.  

Working with a counselor, psychologist, or therapist allows you to explore your feelings, behavior patterns, and thoughts. It can help you gain new coping techniques and skills that’ll help you manage your triggers and daily stressors. If you’re interested in psychotherapy and counseling, you can visit to learn more. 

If you’ve never been in therapy before, you’re probably wondering what goes on behind closed doors. Certain things will happen in your first appointment, whether it’s your first online or face-to-face therapy. The first sessions are usually different from the future visits, and it’s a good idea to find out what to expect so you don’t go in blindly. Luckily, this article guides you through some things you may encounter in your first therapy appointment. 


You’re probably meeting the therapist for the first time. Therefore, introductions are expected from both ends. Note that your relationship with your therapist will depend on how well you can connect with them. 

You don’t necessarily need to jump into your deepest secrets there and then. You can start by stating your name and describing yourself in a few words. Your therapist will do the same so that you both know each other on a certain level.  

Your therapist may also request you to confirm your identity with an ID, a driver’s license, or anything that can show you’re who you say you are. Some therapists may also request you upload your ID to their patient portal. You can do the same and ask them to verify their identity. 

High angle veiw of psychologist making notes on paper while talking to patient online on laptop during psychotherapy session

Questions And Note Taking 

It’s your first meeting, and your therapist doesn’t know enough about you. Therefore, expect many questions as it’ll help them understand you and what you’re going through. Some of these questions may include but are not limited to the following. 

  • Reason/s For Going To Therapy: Your therapist will want to understand if a stressful event or something else prompted you to seek treatment. It could be the loss of a loved one, conflict at work or home, sexual assault, life-changing events, or a messy breakup.  
  • Expectations: There are many benefits of attending therapy sessions, and your therapist will want to know what you expect to achieve by the end of your treatment.  
  • Family History: Where you come from will help the therapist understand you better. It can offer insight into who you are today and why you have issues like anxiety and anger. It’ll help you dig up any hidden event in your childhood that could affect your mental health today.  
  • Experience With Therapy: Another question you should expect from your treatment is whether this is your first time in treatment or if you’ve been to one before. If so, your therapist would want to know which techniques worked well for you and which didn’t. 
  • Self-harming Tendencies: This information is vital for your therapy, especially if you have suicidal thoughts or have already attempted them. It’ll help your therapist understand how to approach your case and recommend the appropriate level of care. 
  • Coping Mechanism/s: Your therapist may ask this question to know how you deal with stressful situations and emotions. From here, they can recommend better-coping tools that don’t involve self-harming, drugs, or other harmful mechanisms. 
  • Strengths: Therapy isn’t always about the problems. Your therapists will also want to hear what you’re good at and what makes you proud. Noticing such things play a crucial role in your treatment.  

These questions will help your therapist decide on the best approach and the level of care you need so that you can improve. 

The Basics 

After the introductions and identity verifications, the next thing to expect is to go over vital information needed before you can examine your problems. Such information may include the following. 

  • Emergency Contact: Your therapist may want an emergency contact if you have a breakdown or a health emergency. You’ll also have to agree on the circumstances to contact the person. The information you share with your therapist is confidential, but they may need to contact someone if they think you’re a threat to yourself or someone else.  
  • Location: You’ll be attending therapy sessions online from home or at work. Your therapy needs to have the address for these locations in case something happens in the middle of your session. They need to know where to send help because you’re not in the same room where they can immediately help you.  
  • Consent And Confidentiality Forms: Your relationship with your therapist is built on trust. Their work ethic dictates that everything their patient shares is confidential and shouldn’t be discussed with anyone outside the room, including a life partner or parents unless the patient is in immediate danger. You may have to sign some consent documents and discuss privacy, practice, and cancellation policies. However, don’t sign anything blindly. Ask questions where you need clarifications and only sign when you’re sure you’ve understood everything discussed.  
  • Financial Matters: You’ll need to go over the financial agreement with your therapist. You’ll have to discuss the charges for each session and how you’ll make the payments. You’ll have to decide whether to use your insurance, credit card, or cash. Remember that not all psychotherapists accept insurance and credit cards. Therefore, you should look into their payment methods when finding a therapist
  • Backup Plan: Online therapy solely relies on technology that has proven effective and reliable over the years. However, it’s always good to have a backup plan. You’ll have to discuss with your therapist what happens when the network is down and you can’t hold an online meeting.  

While sharing these important details may be taxing, they are essential in creating a conducive space for therapy that puts your best interest first and protects your well-being. 

Therapy Methods 

Another thing to expect from your first online counseling appointment is a discussion on the therapy methods your therapist will use during your treatment period. Counselors use different techniques to help their patients deal with their trauma and triggers.  

Understanding therapy methods will help you know what to expect throughout your treatment. It’ll also help you decide whether or not the therapist is suitable for you. Some of the methods your therapist may use include but are not limited to the following. 

  • Psychodynamic Therapy: It’s also known as psychoanalytic therapy. Your therapist focuses on the unconscious part of the brain and how the patient processes pain. 
  • Client-centered Therapy: Your therapist lets you decide what to discuss and explore with no judgments.  
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The therapist focuses on changing how you behave, think, and respond to problems.  
  • Gestalt Therapy: Your therapist focuses on your present moment instead of your past experiences. 

All these techniques are meant to help you emerge as a better person at the end of the treatment, and your therapist may switch among them from time to time to find the approach that yields better results.  

Treatment Schedule And Length 

If you haven’t done it already, you and your therapist must schedule future meetings. You’ll decide on a weekly time and day for the session. For instance, you can have the session every Wednesday at 11 AM. This way, you’ll be able to plan your week and won’t miss any appointments due to a busy schedule. 

You could set expectations with your therapist regarding the completion of your therapy. However, your therapist can’t know for sure because it depends on your issues, goals, and how quickly you respond to the treatments. As discussed, therapy is not an instant fix, and it may take more than a couple of weeks to recover fully.  

Treatment Results 

Your first online session will likely be less productive than your future meetings because your therapist will focus more on getting to know you than offering solutions to your problems. They can only provide solutions once they walk in your shoes for a while to understand what you’re going through. 

As mentioned, they’ll ask you many questions, some of which will bring back bad memories you wanted to avoid revisiting. It can be devastating and draining, but it’s what it takes to get better. Remember, counseling isn’t a quick fix. Working through your challenges will take time and effort, and your first appointment is mainly directed toward discovering these challenges. 

Specific Considerations For Online Therapy 

Another thing to expect on your first online therapy appointment is a discussion about how you’ll make the online sessions work effectively without interruptions. Since you will not have your sessions in a clinic where the ambiance is best for therapy, your therapist may request you find a nice quiet room where you can speak freely and comfortably. 


These are just some things to expect on your first online appointment. Your therapist may have more to say, or you may need more clarification. What you discuss in your first session may influence how the rest of your meetings will go. It’s, therefore, necessary to be open about concerns early on.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].