31 common first therapy session questions

This article will show you what are the most common 31 questions your therapist may ask you in your first session, and why they are important questions to ask.

The 31 most common first therapy session questions

If you are going through a first therapy session your therapist may ask you some basic but deep questions to get to know you. Here are 31 of the most common questions your therapist may ask you, and why they are important.

What brings you here? 

This is one of the most relevant questions to ask during the first session. It is the one that will let the therapist know what are the reasons that made you look for therapy, and how they are impacting you.

How have you been dealing with the matters that brought you to therapy?

This question will allow them to understand how you have been coping with the events that have been too painful to you. But it will also show them some of your coping techniques as well.

Have you ever seen a therapist before? If yes, tell me about this treatment.

Knowing if you have ever done a therapy process is extremely important to understand how you have gone through therapy before. It will help them identify if it was a positive experience for you, if you left it because you were resistant to the treatment, or if it was a situation where you were discharged. Aside from that, it will allow them to understand in a timeline what led you back to therapy.

What do you want to get from therapy? 

Knowing the main goal you wish to get out of therapy is important so the therapist knows what type of work you want to do. But it also allows them to give you some reality checks as to what it is possible to achieve or not through therapy.

How long have you been feeling this way?

This question is focused on trying to determine how long it has been since you have been considering caring for your mental health. It will also give insight into what was the last straw that led you to look for therapy.

Have you ever been diagnosed with any mental illness? 

They need to know to what extent you have cared for your mental health before. This allows them to know if there is any specific mental illness they need to keep an eye on.

Did you ever take mental health medication? 

This is another question to understand your previous mental health care process. Knowing if you have taken medication, which one, for how long, and why you stopped helps them in having an understanding of your situation.

Do you have a history of mental health in your family?

Since mental health issues are often related to genetics, they may ask you about your family history to take that under consideration in your therapy process.

Do you have a relationship?  

After understanding a bit about your mental health, the therapist may begin to ask questions about your life to better understand the context you live in. Knowing if you have a relationship may be important to know who are the people that are closest to you.

How would you describe that relationship?

In the same way, describing the relationship will help the therapist to get a better insight into how that relationship makes you feel.

Whom do you live with? 

This question is also focused on trying to determine who are the people that are part of your support network, and who are you closest with.

What is the relationship with the people you live with? 

Another question is to determine how your relationship is with the people that are close to you.

Do you have many friends? 

This question may give them an idea of how open you are to make friends and how much you prioritize keeping in touch with them. 

What is your social life like? 

Along with understanding your family and friends, you can also tell them how you balance your social life, what are the things you enjoy doing, and with whom.

Do you drink alcohol? How often? 

Knowing if you drink alcohol and how often will maybe show if there is a pattern of alcohol abuse.

Do you do drugs? How often? 

In the same way, asking about your drug use may give a hint about drug abuse.

What do you like to do for fun?  

This will give the therapist a notion of what brings you joy, and if you are in touch with things that give you a positive emotion, or if you feel detached or have lost interest in things.

What do you work with? 

Knowing what you do for work or study will open the conversation in this first session to another part of your life. 

How do you like your job? 

This can lead them to understand if you feel fulfilled by the professional life you have been living or if there are things you are frustrated about.

What is your relationship with people from your job?

It is also important to understand the relationship you have with the people you work with. This paints a picture of what space your work fills in your life.

Who are the people you can count on?

After getting a notion of who are the people in your life, they may ask you about who are the people you consider to be the trustworthy ones from all those spaces you occupy.

Have you been crying more often? 

It is often common that people will cry during their first therapy session. Sometimes opening up about all that has been going on can easily bring people to tears. But they may ask this to also try to understand how emotional you may be feeling lately.

Has your eating pattern changed? 

From this moment, they may try to identify if there is any trace of undiagnosed mental illness. And since a change in the eating pattern is a common symptom, they may ask you about that.

Have you been eating more or less?

To understand how it has changed, they will ask this question and try to determine if there is an emotional trigger leading you to eat more or less than before.

Has your sleeping pattern changed?

As another way of trying to identify any mental illness, they will ask you about your sleeping pattern.

Are you sleeping more or less?

If you tell them your sleeping patterns have changed, they may ask you if you are sleeping more or less since it can be a sign of what is going on. People with anxiety are often sleepless, while people with depression will most likely sleep more. 

Have you ever thought of harming yourself or ending your life?

This question is the one that will give your therapist a notion of if you have considered self-harm or suicide before.

31 common first therapy session questions

What do you think led you to that?

If you have a history of self-harm or suicidal thoughts they may try to understand why you experienced them, and if you have had them recently.

How did you cope with those thoughts?

If you had experiences of self-harm or suicidal thoughts they need to know how you dealt with those.

Do you feel comfortable starting the process?

The therapy process may have already started from the time you got in touch with them, but as a way to close the session, they may ask you if you feel comfortable and ready to be in this space.

See you next week?

And when the session is done they will ask you if you are ready for therapy and if they can wait for you in the upcoming week.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the 31 most common first therapy session questions? 

 Does going to therapy mean I am insane? 

No. Doing therapy is a courageous act of a person that is willing to deal with their problems and face them. People will go to therapy if they are struggling with some mental health issue, but others can go just to learn how to manage their emotions in a better way and know more about themselves. There is no sign of insanity is going to therapy.

Will therapy cure my depression? 

Even though depression doesn’t have a cure, it is most likely that depression will have a huge role in making your condition better. When you are depressed, you can feel overwhelmed and crushed by your emotions.

Going to therapy will give you a chance to talk them through, and make it easier for you to understand what is going on with you.

What do I do if I don’t feel comfortable with my therapist in the first session? 

The first session of therapy can often be uncomfortable, especially if it is your first time in therapy. You don’t know how this space works, and you are asked to share some pretty intimate things about yourself.

You can wait a couple of sessions to see if this feeling changes, and you can even tell the therapist, in the first session that you are feeling like this so they can try to help you, by reassuring you in some way.

Is it normal for the client to be angry at the therapist? 

Yes, it can happen that sometimes during the therapy process you get angry with your therapist. They may say something that, even though you understand it is true, you may have trouble dealing with. And it can feel like they touched a nerve.

When this happens, it is extremely important to discuss it with them. They can help you understand this anger better, and even figure out why what was said affected you so much so you can keep on the process.

Is it normal to feel judged by my therapist?

No, you shouldn’t feel judged by your therapist. This is one of the key points of therapy. It should give you a safe space to talk about what you are going through, in a place in which you will feel supported and not judged. 

If you feel that your therapist is judging you, you can have a conversation with them during a session, and tell them how you feel. Discussing this with them may help you understand if it is something that is happening in reality, or it can even be that you are projecting your self-judgment on them.


This article showed what are the 31 most common first therapy sessions questions your therapist may do to you, and why they are important.

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