If you have entered into a residential or outpatient drug or alcohol rehab, going to your first therapy session can be a very nerve-wracking experience. But it doesn’t have to be. If you know what to expect during therapy at a drug or alcohol rehab, you will feel more at ease.
Here are some things to help you feel more prepared as you begin therapy at a drug or alcohol rehab:
Be Prepared to Fill out Forms
Many patients are disappointed to find out that the majority of their first session may be spent filling out forms related to their medical history, job history, symptoms, insurance information, and other pertinent information.
If at all possible, ask the staff at your drug or alcohol rehab if you can come in early to fill out these forms ahead of time. That way, you will have more time to speak directly to a therapist. Depending on the drug or alcohol rehab you have entered, you may actually provide this information during your initial assessment or intake instead of during your first therapy session.
When you come in for your first therapy session, have handy any important documentation you may need. This may include your social security card, insurance card, prescription medication information, and driver’s license. You may also be asked to provide proof of income.
Be Prepared to Give an Overview of Your Drug and Alcohol History
Much in the same way you would prepare a cover letter for a job application, your therapist will ask you to tell him or her something about yourself. It is best to be honest upfront, but if you do not feel comfortable revealing your entire life history in the initial session, don’t worry — there will be time to do so in later sessions.
Also, if you feel that you did not get enough time to discuss your reasons for coming to therapy or entering a drug or alcohol rehab, don’t panic. Therapy is meant to be spread out over several sessions (and often several months), and you need not give all of the details in one hour.
Be Clear About Your Goals
If you have specific goals that you would like to accomplish in therapy, state them without reservation. Remember, therapy is there for you, not for the therapist.
As you progress through therapy, you will begin to work toward these goals. Don’t expect all of your goals to be reached immediately. The work that is accomplished through therapy can often take a long time, so be patient with yourself and your therapist.
Keep in mind that your therapy sessions will help you in the long-run and that they are a great investment in your well-being, as well as your recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.
There is no need to get dressed up for a therapy session. Present yourself as you normally are and be sure to be comfortable. You will not be judged regarding your appearance.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Nervous
It’s normal, and it will get easier!
Of course, everyone has their own ways of preparing for their first therapy session. What were some of yours?