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On the therapy journey

mocha delight
Community Member
I’m starting this thread to post about anything related to my treatment & therapy ect ect ect. Which I’ll start of saying I finally got a appointment with a psychologist on the 9th of September so over 3 weeks away. But not with the one me gp referred to as that psychologist unfortunately for me was not taking on new clients so I found one off the ‘find a professional’ from beyond blue of course and I did not no where else to go look. So already feel nervous & anxious about this appointment and I only made it today besides this psychologist is not one my gp recommended & referred me to. So now I would ever be grateful if anyone give me tips/hints ect ect ect of what to expect from my first ever psychologists appointment. What do I need to know? Now that most of you all have definitely gone through that first time psychologist appointment what kind of things should I ask/tell/mention? How many appointments average until I get a diagnosis? Do psychologists make the diagnosis’s? Does a gp? Or how do I get a diagnosis if a gp’s/psychologists don’t make the diagnosis? Ok yes I’m a complete newbie to trying to get a diagnosis but I just want to be completely prepared of how it works before my appointment. Did I mention I’m nervous and anxious?
82 Replies 82

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dearest mocha delight

No you didn't mention you were nervous or anxious lol but there were a few hints in there that that's how you're feeling.

Are you expecting "a diagnosis"?

If you are then what of?

Do you WANT a diagnosis?

Yah lots of questions... only answer if you want to.

I've had my "first" psychologists appt a few times now.

I was always super keen to just get in there and spill my guts out lol. (I learnt on the weekend from my psych friend that people with anxiety are the MOST likely to make psych appts... and when they get in there, they talk and talk... interesting. Not at ALL like me lol.)

MAYBE the psych you see will email a questionnaire to you BEFORE your first appt. Maybe not.

My last one did and it was HUGE... mostly about my background of trauma. But she was a specialist trauma psych.

Usually the first appt is mainly background stuff.
You CAN direct the therapy with exactly what you want out of it. It's good to think about but don't worry if it's not clear for you atm. No biggie.
I did lol.

After the first appt she emailed the Kessler assessment which I understand can scale a person on Depression, Anxiety and PTSD.. somewhat.
I filled THAT in online.

Other psychs HAVE asked me what I wanted out of the sessions... I remember asking the following for each psych:
* why my personal life seemed like a mess and my professional life was gleaming?
* what my "sweats" and racing heart beat was from? (missed opportunity for psych to diagnose trauma and PTSD there)
* CLARITY (for a bad marriage - psych pretty much failed there. I got clarity myself later)
* LAST ONE was I wanted to emotionally detach from the traumatic events and be able to "file" them in my mind without them being intruding into my mind whenever "they felt like it" (enormous success with exposure therapy and CBT).

I've left psychological help for now. I'm looking at hypnotherapy at a Clinic in a major city next if I feel the need... pretty good for the moment and for the last while on the PTSD front.

I retained my Counsellor throughout the last psych sessions. I'm glad I have. She is highly trained in DV and FV and recovery for parents and their children. The last psych had zero idea about DV / FV so it's another reason I finished up with her.

BEST WISHES on the psych sessions! I am REALLY excited for you!

Love EM

Thanks for ecomama for your reply no I’m not expecting a diagnosis at the end of the first appointment, of depression & anxiety and yes but only once the psychologist has Enough facts ect ect ect of being able to give a accurate diagnosis if they do the diagnosing. And one of the receptionists just sent me a bit after I called today to make the appointment a statement of informed consent and contact agreement ect ect ect so just the normal I guess.

Community Member

Hi Mocha Delight,

Great news that you are starting your therapy journey and its normal to be a bit nervous. Going to meet someone for the first time who you are hoping to share some of your closest stories with is a big thing. Sometimes getting to know each other can take a few sessions and this is common. As ecomama has mentioned, sometimes it is good to go in with a list of your own goals. For example, it could be to gain diagnostic clarity, or learn skills to manage symptoms, or improve certain symptoms ie. reduce my worry around ___, become more confident at ___, or feel less stressed when I attend ___,... etc. etc... Sometimes writing these things down can help as when many people attend appointments particularly with new health practitioners, it is normal to forgot things (this happens to me all the time). Another thing that can help is to keep a daily symptom diary leading up to the first appointment. ie. Each day, write down your mood, what worries you had, what were the triggers etc. This can sometimes help when you see your psychologist and they can see how you have been day to day in one snap shot.

These are just some tips but I think do what ever makes you feel the most comfortable.

Wishing you the best possible outcome,

Nurse Jenn

mocha delight
Community Member
And I’m a bit concerned that if I am happy with this psychologist and stick with her later on down the track that she may need to see a psychiatrist after hearing about one side of my family alone. As I can honestly say that side I’m talking about most of them are a piece of work and the family on the other side is not much better. And they are some of the main reasons ie both sides of my family are why I have issues.

I wouldn't worry about the psychs MH. They are trained to handle very difficult issues!!!

One thing I have found helpful. After a couple of sessions with the background info etc we seemed to be going in a tangent not dealing with what I wanted. I was tempted to give up but instead spend time writing exactly what had happened to me & the impact on my life. I then wrote what I needed changing to cope. I took this document in & handed it to him at the start of the session. He sat & read it & then copied it onto his computer file so it couldn't be lost. He then spoke to me directly to address the issues I'd pointed out. This really helped because it gave me time to think about what had happened & what the real issues I needed addressing. This gave him the who picture rather than missing things during the session. It also forced me to think about what I really needed help with rather than what he thought I needed. I'm glad I did this as it has made the sessions far more effective.

Hi mocha delight, well done you for taking the first step to seeing someone. That takes courage. Really. So if you're feeling anxious and nervous, that is only natural. For therapy to be helpful, I believe it is the relationship between the therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist, counsellor - doesn't really matter as long as they are well qualified) - and the client/patient - you. So in a first session it can be helpful to be checking out the therapist as much as all the formal stuff. Does it FEEL right?

It can take a number of sessions to work out if this person is right for you - so be patient with yourself and give it time.

One thing I have always found useful is to ask myself "what am I hoping for out of this session?" You might not know exactly what it is, but if you DON'T get it, you will know that you didn't get it when you walk out the door. So it's good to think about it from the start. I hope this makes sense and I wish you so well.

Thanks for your reply nurse jenn I am bit anxious & nervous about it and how do I say that it basically like how I am because of both sides of my family and that my now ex gastroenterologist kind of pushed me over completely into the pool of depression so was the icing on the cake? I say ex gastroenterologist as I’ve now after she completely mishandled my case, how she treated me and the stress/anxiety she put me under I’ve now got a referral to a new gastroenterologist. There’s been over minor past issues in my life that have all added up after all my coeliac disease drama ( which I did end up having coeliac disease + GORD to boot) last year that was my breaking point mentally I guess you could say.

mocha delight
Community Member
Well 18 days from tomorrow until my first psychologist appointment and I wish now that I’d tried to get in to see one sooner. I’m sick of my mum pointing out stuff that I do that’s a symptom of depression like sleeping a lot ect ect ect. I feel like if it was anyone else in the family or extended family mum would of gone and done a lot of research on it & tried to learn everything about it but when it comes to me there’s nothing zilch. I just wish she would stop bringing up stuff like me sleeping to much for example that I show that’s a symptom of depression. When she does that it feels like it makes things worse for me. That she would do research on depression and anxiety so she has some knowledge about it and maybe understand it at least a bit better than not at all. I wish I had some support but I don’t s mum doesn’t understand it nor tried to and dad just doesn’t even acknowledge it.

Hi mocha delight

Sorry I missed your reply....

Yes a psychologist can diagnose depression / anxiety and other stuff.
You don't need a psychiatrist for this. (if you need meds and a combination of some then a psychiatrist might help to watch things with meds etc).

Usually a psychologist uses the Kessler scale. Some don't use any scale IDK why or why not.

Your GP may have done the initial short questionnaire with you to scale your feelings.

Do you FEEL depressed?

Can you explain more the issues with your mum?