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The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for Your First Therapy Session or First Coaching Session

Updated: Jul 10

According to a poll by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), the number of individuals accessing mental health support in Canada has seen a significant uptick. 


Despite this rise in people seeking mental health support, the first session of coaching or therapy, also known as the initial therapy consultation or initial coaching consultation, may bring about confusion.


You may be wondering:


  • What is the first coaching or therapy session?

  • Do I need to prepare for the first therapy session or first coaching session?

  • What questions does a therapist or coach ask in an initial therapy or coaching consultation?

  • What questions can I ask a coach or therapist in the initial coaching or therapy consultation? 


You may also be feeling anxious about taking the initial step to booking a therapy or coaching consultation. 


This is okay. A bit of anxiety about important things is something that we all deal with from time to time and this is human. 


Whatever the reason you are seeking a therapist or coach, Blue Sky Learning can support you with the following:


  • An ADHD coach or therapist

  • An autism coach or therapist

  • An AuDHD coach or therapist

  • An academic coach or therapist

  • An executive functioning coach or therapist

  • A coach or therapist for mental health conditions.

  • Couples counselling

  • Life coaching

  • Family therapy


To start your journey with therapy or coaching, Blue Sky Learning has put together a guide to help you get the answers to these popular coaching and therapy consultation questions and discover more about how to prepare for your first session.  


WHAT IS THE FIRST THERAPY SESSION OR COACHING SESSION?


People reach out for support with a variety of conditions and life challenges, including:



Your first session with a therapist or coach is also called the initial therapy or coaching consultation.


Blue Sky Learning offers an initial free therapy consultation or a free coaching consultation with a neurodivergent-affirming therapist or neurodivergent-affirming coach, depending on whether you wish to receive coaching or counselling. 


The initial coaching or therapy consultation is the very first session you will have with your potential therapist or coach. 


It is a basic conversation between you and your prospective therapist or coach to learn if you may be the right fit to work together. 


This meeting won’t usually dive into your deepest traumas, but the therapist or coach will ask you questions to get to know you more and vice versa. 


It is a chance to see if you and the therapist or coach can form a strong therapeutic or coaching alliance. 


The therapeutic alliance, or coaching alliance in the case of coaching, is the relationship between you and this therapist or coach to work towards shared goals and your self-discovery journey. It is based on the foundation of mutual respect, safety, and trust. 


It is normal to feel anxious during your first therapy session or coaching session. 


You could let the therapist or coach know so they can help make the experience less anxiety-provoking and guide the conversation to suit your needs.


Another piece of advice is to treat this as a casual conversation where you can be your authentic self and you don’t have to worry about judgment. 


You can ask the therapist or coach as many questions as you are comfortable with, and you do not have to feel pressure to bring things up in this first session. 


Any great therapist or coach will guide the conversation and support you in feeling comfortable being vulnerable with them. 


They should understand that this may take time and that this won’t necessarily occur in the coaching or therapy consultation. 


By the time the consultation is done, you should have clarity for your most pressing questions and an understanding of whether the therapist or coach is the right fit for you. 


If you feel like the therapist or coach you met with is not a good fit for you, it is okay to ask for a session with another coach or therapist.


There are many different kinds of therapists and coaches and it may take you multiple sessions to find the right fit.


WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FIRST THERAPY SESSION: POTENTIAL TOPICS THE COACH OR THERAPIST WILL DISCUSS DURING THE FIRST THERAPY SESSION OR COACHING SESSION


Being asked questions may be something that invokes anxiety in some people. 


If you experience anxiety, you should let the therapist or coach know so that they can provide you with accommodations or help you with grounding exercises to get through the questions. 


One accommodation could be to write down the answers to the questions instead of stating them verbally. 


To reduce some of your anxiety regarding the potential topics that may be discussed, Blue Sky Learning has put together a possible topic list.


These topics vary depending on the coach or therapist, but most initial coaching or therapy consultations include discussions on: 


  • Legal matters such as confidentiality 

  • Cost and sliding scale options (if applicable) 

  • Insurance coverage 

  • Waiting list length (if applicable) 

  • Frequency and duration of therapy 

  • Goals 

  • Their modalities 

  • Their experience 

  • The potential need for a referral to external sources


They may decide if you may need additional support along with your counselling or coaching sessions, which could include neurodivergent support groups.


This could also include referring you to someone who can diagnose ADHD or other neurodivergent conditions so you can receive a holistic approach.


POTENTIAL QUESTIONS THE THERAPIST OR COACH MAY ASK YOU DURING THE FIRST THERAPY SESSION OR COACHING SESSION


There is no clear set of questions or a clear number of questions that will be asked by the therapist or coach.


These will vary depending on the coach or therapist. 


During these questions, you can skip a question completely if you do not feel comfortable answering it or you can ask the therapist or coach to come back to it later in the session once you have had to think about the questions. 


Remember, though, that by providing the therapist or coach with the most context, they will be able to have a more accurate understanding of whether they can support you or not. 


Although the questions will differ, here are some potential questions the therapist or coach could ask you in the consultation: 


  • What are your pronouns? 

  • What brings you here? 

  • What are your goals for our sessions?

  • Have you gone to coaching sessions before? Therapy? Other supports?

  • What are you looking for in your sessions? 

  • Do you have a formal diagnosis?

  • Can you afford the therapy rate? Do you need a sliding scale? 

  • What has helped you in the past?

  • How frequently would you like to come to sessions?

  • Do you have insurance?

  • Do you feel you have enough privacy for online sessions?

  • What approaches have helped you in the past?

  • Do you have supportive people in your life?

  • What would you consider your strengths and areas for growth?


The goal of the therapist or coach asking you questions is to get to know you and see if you are a fit for them as a client. 


They need to make sure that they have experience and/or training in what you are seeking support with. 


If not, they may ethically need to refer you to someone who does. To get the proper care that meets your needs, it is important to be honest.


QUESTIONS YOU COULD ASK A THERAPIST OR COACH DURING THE FIRST THERAPY OR COACHING SESSION


The ADHD coaching or therapy consultation is not just a chance for the therapist to get to know you better. It is also a chance for you to get to know that therapist better. 


You will want to determine if you feel comfortable with this therapist or coach to dive into deeper subject matters with them. 


The process of determining if the two of you can form a strong therapeutic alliance is collaborative, and you will have a chance here to determine if you feel it is a fit for you too. 


There is no exhaustive list of questions to ask a therapist or coach in the session.


You can ask for as few or as many of these as you think will benefit you. 


Here are some questions you could ask: 


  • Could you share more about your practice? 

  • What modalities or approaches are you trained in? 

  • What conditions are you trained in to provide support for? 

  • Do you offer support for neuroqueer individuals?

  • Would you have to break confidentiality? If so, when? 

  • How frequently do you usually meet with clients? 

  • What are your fees? 

  • Do you offer a sliding scale?

  • What are your policies around insurance and cancellation fees? 

  • How should I prepare for our first session of working together after this consultation? 

  • How would I know if our sessions together are working? 

  • Could you explain intersectionality to me? 

  • Do you have experience working with individuals with my identity and background? 

  • I need to discuss my experiences with systemic discrimination, are you comfortable discussing this topic, and do you have experience discussing systemic discrimination? 

  • Do you have a waitlist? If so, how long?


You may also wish to ask yourself some questions after the session to determine if this therapist or coach is the right fit for you to receive support from. 


These questions include:


  • Do our schedules align? 

  • Have they worked with individuals with similar conditions or identities as me?

  • Do I feel safe with them? 

  • Do I feel I could build trust with them? 

  • Do their fees and my ability to pay align? 

  • Are they covered by my insurance? 

  • Do our approaches to coaching or therapy align? 

  • Are they knowledgeable in the areas I need support in? 

  • Do I feel I can be myself around them? 

  • Do I feel supported, heard, and understood?


If you determine that you and the therapist or coach are a good fit to work together on building the alliance.


Your next step will be to reach out to this therapist or coach to book your first official working session. 


Book a Free Consultation With Blue Sky Learning


MORE ABOUT BLUE SKY LEARNING


Blue Sky Learning team members embody values of compassion, empathy, and person-centered approaches. 


Blue Sky Learning provides the opportunity for students, professionals, parental guardians, and educators to connect with them regarding individual concerns and areas of growth. 



Blue Sky Learning strives to provide a service where clients feel safe, supported, and intersectionality understood. 


Blue Sky Learning aims to reduce stigma and shame cycles, deepen client understanding of internalized ableism, and empower areas of avoidance to increase your value of motivation.


Free 20-minute consultation


Are you a neurodivergent individual seeking an ADHD coach, autism coach, AuDHD coach, executive functioning coach, or academic coach anywhere in the world?


Are you looking for neurodiversity-affirming therapy?


Blue Sky Learning is here to support you with their team of coaches, counsellors, and consultants. 


Blue Sky Learning therapists also have biographies on Psychology Today, so you can search psych today therapist to learn more about each of them


Book a free 20-minute consultation with one of the Blue Sky Learning team members by emailing hello@blueskylearning.ca or heading on over to the website.













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