Going to Therapy for the First Time? Here’s What to Expect

People often seek therapy during difficult times in their lives.

Though the idea of sharing your private thoughts and feelings with a stranger can seem scary or strange at first, talking to a therapist about your past, present, and future-about the things that make you feel sad, depressed, anxious, angry, or ashamed-can be a major relief. Therapy allows you to focus on yourself without having to worry about what someone else might think of you.

What to expect at ACP

Understanding the Differences between Therapy vs. Psychiatry

At ACP, your care may fall into one of two types of treatment:

Individual therapy allows you and your therapist to meet regularly, one-on-one, to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Your therapist will explore topics with you to address certain issues, so you can create a plan that aligns with your personal goals.

What to Expect When Going to Therapy for the First Time

If you're looking for non-medication help, you'll be meeting with one of our experienced therapy providers. These types of providers include licensed psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and clinical counselors.

Your first appointment will primarily focus on information-gathering from your therapist, so it will be a little different than a typical therapy appointment.

Along with asking what led you to seek therapy and what you hope to achieve, your therapist may ask general questions about your history-medical and personal-and about your relationships with friends and family. They may also ask questions that may not seem immediately relevant to your problems. It's important to be honest with your therapist, but you can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

Tips for Your First Therapy Session:

It's often helpful to write a short list of things you want to discuss during your first appointment; things that you think might be important for your therapist to know and understand about you, or any questions you have about the process. Remember, it's okay to have questions!

Before the end of your session, you and your therapist will discuss your treatment goals and how often you should return for therapy. Depending on the nature of your symptoms and goals, your therapist may also refer you to a psychiatry provider for medication, to one of our therapy groups, or for additional psychological testing to help guide your diagnosis and treatment.

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Administered by a trained and licensed medical professional, psychiatry involves the use of medication management and ongoing assessment to ensure you're receiving the essential therapeutic benefits from your treatment.

What To Expect During Your Psychiatry Appointment

If you're seeking medication to help manage physical symptoms of a mental health disorder, you will be meeting with a psychiatric provider, either a psychiatrist, physician assistant, or an advanced practice nurse with a certification in psychiatric services. The goal of this appointment is to assess your symptoms and health history and evaluate which type of medication(s) is best for you.

Psychiatric appointments do not include therapy sessions. For the best possible outcomes, we encourage all clients receiving medication services to see a therapist prior to their medication management appointment and also on a regular basis.

What to Bring to Your Appointment:

  • A complete list of all prescription medications you're currently taking. Your pharmacy may be able to print this list out for you ahead of time.
  • Your ID and insurance card.
  • Any questions and concerns you want to share with your clinician.

Scheduling Your First Session

When you contact our clinic to schedule your first appointment, it's helpful to provide our team with a brief explanation of why you're calling. Our staff will then schedule you with a provider who can offer you the best care possible.

Preparing for Your First Session

Prior to your first appointment, you'll need to complete new client paperwork. If your appointment is happening via telehealth (phone or video session), you can complete your paperwork ahead of time and mail or fax the completed forms to us. If you appointment is happening in person, please arrive 20-30 minutes in advance of your appointment to allow time to complete the necessary paperwork. You can save time by completing the New Client Personal History Form online. All other required new client forms are available near the bottom of this page.

If you are working with other health providers outside of ACP, we would encourage you to complete a Release of Information form to allow for easier care coordination between providers.


If you're new to ACP, you can help save time at your initial appointment by completing your paperwork in advance. All new clients need to complete our Client Intake Form, the Consent for Treatment Form, and the Primary Care Physician Form. The Client Intake Form can be completed online, or printed and faxed/mailed to us prior to your first appointment.

When forms are completed, they can be faxed or mailed to us at:

4027 County Rd 25
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Fax: 612-925-8496

Insurance Coverage

As part of our commitment to being your provider of choice, ACP accepts all major health insurance plans, including commercial and public insurance, ACA plans and Employer Assistance Plans (EAPs). We work directly with your insurance company to process claims and clarify coverage issues.

The most common insurance plans accepted at ACP:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN
  • Cigna and Cigna Behavioral
  • Hennepin Health
  • HealthPartners
  • Optum/United Behavioral
  • Health/LifeEra
  • Lifesynch/Humana
  • Medica
  • Medicare Part B and Railroad
  • Medicare
  • Metropolitan Heath Plan (MHP)
  • MN Medical Assistance
  • (MA/MHCP)
  • PreferredOne
  • Tricare
  • UCare
  • UnitedHealthcare (UHC)

If your carrier isn't listed above or if you're unsure about the mental health benefits offered by your health plan, contact our Business Office at 612.455.8630 and one of our experienced billing specialists will be glad to help you.

Request an Appointment with ACP Today

Ready to start feeling like your best self again? Request an appointment at ACP today. From there, we'll match you with one of our experienced providers, who will work with you individually to address your concerns, so you feel empowered and equipped to take on each new day!

Fill out a New Client Form to Get Started!


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