Attending your very first coaching or therapy session can be a lot like learning to ride a bike: full of nervous excitement, plus a little fear. If you’ve just booked your first therapy session, great job on taking that job towards your best self! If you’re still at the consideration stage, fret not — many people feel similarly apprehensive about trying something new.
No matter what stage of the journey you’re at, we’ve covered five of the most frequently asked questions on coaching and counseling. Sit back, relax and get a headstart before you meet your coach or therapist for the very first time!
1. Firstly, how do I know when to see a coach or therapist?
Contrary to popular belief, coaches or therapists aren’t just for when things go wrong. You don’t need to be dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, or burnout to see a professional expert.
Perhaps you want to be prepared for future transitions at work. Or maybe you want to improve your relationship with food. A therapist would be able to provide professional guidance and assistance.
Maybe you want to lead a healthier lifestyle or achieve greater work-life balance. A professional coach can help you make plans and support you with their certified knowledge, network, and lived experience.
So TL;DR: Therapy and coaching are often just a way to receive unbiased perspectives from a third-party. If you want to sound out your problem to another person or work towards specific goals, coaches and therapists are an ideal solution.
2. Hold up! Before I decide, what exactly can I expect to get out of this?
Ever felt like your ideas and opinions were underappreciated by those around you? You wouldn’t be the first. It’s why many people who first try therapy find it relieving: they can finally talk about anything they want, and someone will listen attentively. During a coaching or therapy session, the time is 100% yours!
Therapists tend to act like mirrors. They can provide you with an entirely new perspective on yourself and your life courtesy of their psychology and counseling expertise. What causes your pain? What causes your struggle? They can lead you towards greater awareness and guide you towards a possible direction for the future.
Coaches, on the other hand, tend to focus more on personal and professional growth. They may do this by nurturing a new mindset. They will help you set goals, identify your unique strengths, talents and resources, and serve as your accountability partner.
Both a coach and a therapist can present you with guiding questions and help you to make connections between your experiences and thoughts. Their purpose isn’t to tell you what to do with your life — instead, they’ll guide you so that you can feel empowered to make your own decisions! At the end of the day, although your coach/therapist may help you find clarity, you are the one who knows yourself best!
PS: It takes some time and effort to see results. Commit to at least 4 sessions of coaching/therapy to see more meaningful change.
3. I have decided to see a professional, but how do I choose the best one for myself?
There are two important factors when it comes to choosing the best coach or therapist for you: 1) their qualifications and 2) how well you resonate with them.
Let’s talk about qualifications first. In private practices, therapists usually have a Master’s degree. At public institutes, it is common for therapists to have a Bachelor’s degree or a counseling certification. Most therapists have experience dealing with common concerns like depression, anxiety, and stress — but some go a step further by specializing in certain fields, such as relationships, eating disorders or LGBTQ issues.
At MindFi, all of our therapists have a minimum of a Masters level degree in either Psychology or Counseling. They also have a nuanced understanding of the unique cultural contexts of Asian employees and professionals. If you’re having trouble finding a therapist with the right specialization, reach out anytime and we’ll find someone qualified to support you!When it comes to coaching, all coaches should have a valid coaching credential from a reputable coaching body. At MindFi, we only work with certified coaches who have extensive and proven experience.
The second factor: How well you resonate with your coach or therapist? Do you feel safe? When you are looking through potential profiles, whose energy do you resonate most with? Who do you see yourself opening up to?
It can take a few tries to find the therapist or coach that really “clicks”, so don’t worry if your first choice doesn’t fit as well as you hoped. You can always join one of our Discovery Days or use your first session to see if there is chemistry between you and your coach/therapist.
4. What can I expect in my first therapy session?
Usually, during your first session, your coach/therapist will begin by gaining some context. They may ask you why you decided to book a session with them, and what you hope to gain from the engagement. You may also be asked questions about personal details, like your family relationships, your fears and concerns, and your professional background. This is so that they can offer the most relevant information.
Feel free to deviate and direct the conversation to anything that you think is important or wish to talk about. You can share information that your therapist or coach doesn’t ask about, for example. Remember that the time you spend with your coach/therapist is your time — don’t be afraid to lead conversation.
5. Now that I’ve started, how long should I continue my coaching or therapy?
Should you do one-off sessions or schedule regular meetings? That’s a great question.
If you have a specific goal to focus on, it takes time to see meaningful change. Like we mentioned earlier: we recommend committing to at least 4 sessions to see real and lasting impact.
If you simply wish to air some concerns and seek some advice or clarity, though, one-off sessions may be the better option.
We hope this article answered any questions you might have had regarding your first coaching or therapy session. Remember: your coach/therapist is a partner on your journey. They are not there to judge, but to listen and learn to help you achieve your goals.
If you need help finding the right therapist on the MindFi platform, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.