In the first session, and perhaps the second session as well, the therapist will ask you to describe the concerns or difficulties that prompted your visit. This will include a discussion of relevant background and personal history, as well as other information that will help the therapist develop an initial understanding of you and your concerns.
In essence, the initial visit(s) entail a diagnostic evaluation. While different therapists structure this portion of the process in different ways, the therapist’s primary goal is to gather the types of information that will allow them to develop a preliminary impression about which type of treatment makes the most sense.
At the conclusion of the evaluation, you and the therapist will discuss their initial impressions and recommendations – whether counseling or therapy is needed, which type of therapy to undertake, whether the therapist is a good fit for your needs – you and the therapist will decide together the best way to proceed.