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What is an Intake Session?



An intake session, the initial meeting between a therapist and client, plays a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for this therapeutic journey. Jump in with us to learn more about the intake process, so you know what to expect during your first therapy session.


An intake session is an extended session that allows the therapist and client to co-create a plan for the client's needs and goals, as well as gather history to understand the whole picture of what the client would like to work on in therapy. This session typically spans about 75 minutes & although 75 minutes sounds long with a “stranger” it flies by.


What Happens During a Therapy Intake Session?


  1. Introduction and Paperwork: The session begins with an introduction to the therapy process, including an overview of confidentiality, therapeutic approaches, and consent for treatment. Before your first session, The Couch Therapy Team will ask you to complete paperwork which is crucial for therapists to tailor the therapy to the client's specific needs​​ and for the clients to understand their rights.

  2. Planning for and Creating a Safe Space: Therapists prioritize establishing a comfortable and safe environment for clients to share their stories. This involves discussing expectations, boundaries, and confidentiality policies to ensure clients feel secure​​. We share all the logistic information upfront about therapy so there aren’t any surprises in the intake session. This ensures clarity on the logistical side of therapy, allowing the client to focus on their healing journey​​.

  3. Sharing Your Story: Clients are encouraged to discuss their reasons for seeking therapy, share background information that informs the dimensionality of their processing and include any challenges or emotional distress they are experiencing. This conversation helps the therapist understand the client's perspective and begin formulating a personalized treatment plan​​.

  4. Building the Therapeutic Relationship: The intake session is key in developing a trusting and empathetic therapeutic relationship, which is foundational to effective therapy. Clients are encouraged to view this session as the beginning of a collaborative journey towards achieving their mental health goals​

At The Couch Therapy we believe in clear and kind communication and we believe that when clients are empowered and understand what to expect in the intake process it can alleviate some of the apprehensions associated with starting therapy. By setting clear expectations and establishing a solid therapeutic relationship from the beginning, the intake session acts as the first step in the relational healing process. As clients and therapists navigate this journey together, the initial intake session becomes a stepping stone towards achieving personal growth and emotional resilience.


For those considering therapy, remember that this initial step is about co-creating alongside your therapist which means you are together in the journey. This allows you to explore and nuture the stressors that brought you to therapy. Whether you're dealing with anxiety, depression, life transitions, or seeking personal growth, the intake session is your first step towards healing and self-discovery.


Not ready to commit to 75 minutes? We get that too! You can check out our free 15 minute consultations where you can meet with a therapist before fully committing to the therapeutic process. Start your free 15 minute consultation here

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