In the field of psychotherapy, the first interview is the first therapeutic contact between a person affected by some kind of mental suffering or discomfort and a professional psychologist.
This is a crucial and important moment, which, although it has many elements in common in all its versions, there can be marked differences depending on the theory or school in which each therapist supports their practice.
In this article we will see how the first interviews in psychotherapy develop, And what can we expect from them.
The first interviews in psychotherapy: their characteristics
In general, we can say that at this time, three elements appear in play: the person making the complaint, the cause of the complaint and the therapist.
Person who consults
As to the first item, the person making the claim is someone with some kind of suffering or mental difficulty that somehow interferes with or hurts their life.
This person may have been hesitant to make this decision, as it is not always easy to decide to seek professional help, and many times this decision comes when the person feels at the limit, Causing requests with urgency and haste. In many cases, haste can be an obstacle that slows down the active posture that a person should have before their treatment.
In any case, we meet someone who puts their hopes and expectations to the therapist to solve their problem, needing to feel welcomed and protected during this first meeting.
Reason for consultation
These reasons or sufferings can be multiple, sometimes it is even possible for the person to request a third need.
We could make a long list of reasons to seek psychological help, but let’s say that the most common are those that have to do with problems or difficulties in relationships with others, partner, family or social, and in especially those that arise from “ this relationship that we have with ourselves, this particular way we have of positioning ourselves in front of the world and which will mark our entire relational life.
Symptoms that usually appear range from personal dissatisfaction, doubts and conflicting feelings ranging from victimization to guilt, feeling of helplessness, anger, frustration, Fears and a long list of emotions that will lead to situations of anxiety, stress, apathy, depressive states, phobias and illnesses in general that will interfere with our mental and physical well-being because there is no doubt that the body suffers from it too.
And finally, we have the therapist, that person who welcomes the subject and his request. How would it perform during these first interviews?
In this phase of therapy, the therapist works to create a climate of empathy and trust through warmth and closeness. Let the patient know that this is their space, that it is a confidential place where they can talk and say whatever they want without being assessed. nor censored for it.
To do this, the professional must know how to encourage patient participation and how to get involved through the expression of their experiences, feelings and thoughts.
You could say that these first moments are to collect information on the consultant’s problem, how he experiences it and his expectations regarding therapyIt is therefore necessary to listen as attentively as it is differential, because the same problem will not be experienced in an equal way by each individual and the expectations will not always be the same. We need to hear not only the problem itself, but this story and this narrative that everyone brings.
The therapist should also work on both the patient’s anxiety and his own. As we have pointed out above, the patient may appear in a hurry to want to resolve his problem quickly, which may lead the therapist to attempt to give quick answers by making hasty and inappropriate interventions while not yet having enough knowledge. information. It is necessary at this time to rely on the experience and above all professional ethics, which have guided not only what you do but also how you do it.
Key aspects of these sessions
the main ones characteristics of an initial psychotherapy interview son:
- Establish a starting point in the therapeutic relationship.
- Collect a request for help that you are trying to understand and respond to.
- It is a technique of pre-diagnosis.
- It has a purpose.
- It is an interpersonal relationship with a reciprocal influence between the patient and the therapist.
As for the objectives of the first therapeutic interviews, Are the following.
- Foster a warm atmosphere of empathy, trust and acceptance.
- Knowing how to listen by paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Contain the patient’s anxiety.
- Stimulate the person’s verbal expression.
- Identify the problem.
- Setting goals.
- Select intervention strategies.
End of the interview
With all the information provided during this first meeting, we close the session of this first interview.. This last phase is preceded by two previous phases: the initial phase, the goal is to put the patient at ease in front of the therapist, as well as to want to speak without inhibitions; and an intermediate or top phase, in which most of the information is gathered, information is exchanged, issues are clarified and some decisions are made.
After these two phases comes the moment when the patient is informed that we are at the last moment of the interview, and has the possibility of communicating any question which, for one reason or another, may have been omitted. then a summary is made of the results and with the patient the action plan is programmed. Finally, the formal farewell is celebrated.
As we see, there are many reasons why a person may decide to seek psychological help. This person chooses a symptom, but the psychotherapist listens to what the patient has to say beyond the problem itself, because this person invents a story, a context and habits with which he reported his discomfort from this subjectivity. that characterizes us. and makes us unique and irreplaceable; it is from here that we will have to listen.
At Iparehum we work from this listening position, To be able to help people understand their discomfort and find ways out of it. We have set ourselves our main objective in human relations, in this encounter with others so fundamental for the human being and so complicated time and time again. We offer psychological help and intervene in the prevention and maintenance of mental health both individually and as a couple and as a family, as well as the creation of support groups for people who share the same problem. We also work with a large network of collaborators to whom we refer you if necessary. If you have any questions, you can contact us through this contact information.