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What to Expect From Your Therapist

Now that we have a better idea of what depression and anxiety are, the next question is, “What do we do next?” If you decided to see a therapist, the first thing we would do is complete some type of assessment. Each therapist uses different methods based on what works best for them. Some of us give you assessments to complete, some of us ask you a series of questions, and the rest of us obtain information in “casual” conversation.

The goal of the assessment phase is not to learn your whole life story in one session but to have an idea of who you are, how you are, what you want, what you need, and how we as your therapist can help.

Once we assess your desires and look at ways to get there while acknowledging barriers along the way, we try to help you get to know yourself more. The more you know yourself at this time in life, the more you become aware of people, places, and things that trigger you or help nurture you in helpful ways.

therapist talking with her patient

Most therapy sessions last about 60 mins. Some therapists accept insurance and, for many different reasons, some therapists only accept cash or card. The price of therapy can range from $20-$250 an hour, depending on the therapist. This hour of time is yours to explore your emotional life while learning ways to increase your emotional well-being.

The ways a therapist guides you can differ from session to session and therapist to therapist. The good news is your sessions are always confidential, with a few exceptions. We as therapists have no vested interest in the outcome of your issues. We guide, support, educate, and just sit with you. A good therapist does a good job ensuring you feel safe enough to explore even the dark parts of yourself while feeling supported.

The only time your session is not confidential is when you have a plan and intent to harm yourself, or you have a plan and intent to harm someone else, including elder abuse or child abuse. Even in our notes, we are not very specific due to confidentiality.

If you are considering going to therapy, consider it an investment in your thought life. One thing you can do to prepare for therapy is write down a list of things that make you feel anxious or irritated. Jot down things you would like to explore in any area of your life. Two basic questions I like to ask people are, “How can your life be better?” and “So what did you worry about last night before you went to sleep?”

author picture for bio
Montoyia McGowan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is the owner and Chief mental wellness therapist of Stopping the Chase Counseling and Consulting. She helps empower her clients to stop the mentally exhausting cycle of chasing people, places, things, and relationships we often feel would contribute to our happiness. Montoyia helps clients consider perspectives that empower them to be more intentional with their thoughts and outside relationships by learning more effective ways to manage past traumatic experiences.
She is also the founder of Black Therapist Private Practice School where she helps other black therapists in the process of starting and maintaining their own private practice. She desires to help make therapy an important aspect of self care.
She can be found at

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