For a therapist, the first session with a client is everything. Not only is it where you start to build a relationship, but it’s also where you gather all of their background information, the puzzle pieces you use to construct a picture of who they are — the most important of which is why they’ve come to see you in the first place. When I was a therapist, that was the first thing I would ask.
I once had a client who responded, “I was watching House last night, and one of the characters on the show saw a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist pointed out all of these things they didn’t even realize about themselves, and they had this amazing, mind-blowing experience. I want to experience something like that.”
I paused. “Okay,” I said slowly. “Is there anything in particular that’s bothering you, or anything specific that you want to address?”
The client stared blankly back at me.
This was not going to go well.