You have been considering seeing a therapist for awhile. Now you are ready to make the call for the initial appointment. If you have had a chance to speak with the mental health therapist, did you feel there was a connection? Was this someone that you would feel comfortable speaking with concerning your personal issues? You are not seeking someone that will be a friend. You are seeking a support person. Your therapist ought to have rapport with you and also respect your individuality and opinions. If the therapist talks a lot about him/herself during the session, then you might want to consider another therapist. The focus of the session is about you and your concerns, not similar experiences that the therapist might have had.
Do you feel a sense of trust for this person? Trust needs to be earned. It is not unusual for a client to come into a first session feeling hesitant to discuss the real issue they are seeking therapy. People have different levels of trust. Some are able to be very open at a first appointment and others need to develop trust over time. Going at the rate that is right for the client is the priority. It is necessary that you feel safe during the therapy session. As the relationship develops, trust will be increased over time. If you feel that you cannot be honest with your therapist and realize you are withholding information, then that is a red flag. You might not be ready to look at your issues at this time or you might need to look for a therapist that is a better fit for you.
Find out how long this therapist has been in practice. The longer a therapist has been in practice the more likely you will have a positive outcome with therapy. Research indicates that the quality of therapy is not based upon credentials. The research shows that positive outcomes improve according to the number of years a therapist has been in practice. The more experience a therapist has, the more likely the therapist will be able to help you. Feel free to ask the therapist about experience with the issue you want to address. You are interviewing the therapist as much as the therapist will be assessing you.
Once you have made a choice, schedule a session. Feel free to explain that you would like to meet for one or two sessions to see if you feel comfortable with the therapist. Most people find that they are satisfied with their counseling when they have a therapist that is supportive of them. If you do not feel you have rapport with the therapist within the first three sessions then continue to look until you find someone that feels like a support for you. Rapport is a major factor in having a positive therapeutic relationship. Therapy does make positive changes in people's lives. This is an investment of your time and money and you deserve to have a therapist that is able to help you most effectively with your issues.