Therapy Diaries // CBT Session 1

I started my CBT sessions for anxiety a couple of weeks ago and thought it may be helpful to keep a record of what happens in each session. My post on what to expect from a therapy assessment seems to have helped quite a few people, and I'm sure a lot of people are as nervous about starting CBT as I was!

Session One
Unfortunately, there was a mix up of the times and I ended up arriving half an hour late. It was nobody's fault but one of the things that really brings out my anxiety is being late, so I was extremely nervous. Although my therapist didn't tell me off, she kept referring to the time and I ended up feeling guilty about the situation. It was probably this that immediately got my defenses up and led me to view the session in a negative light. It's a real shame because I was actually really excited about getting started and tackling my issues.

There were other instances that annoyed me- She did a double take and started to say something when I was a teacher, before setlling on "Oh... ok". Why is that so surprising? What was it that she decided against saying? I regularly felt that she was judging me, which didn't make things any easier.

In this session, I started by filling in another one of those blooming forms that I hate so much before she asked me to briefly fill her in on my problems. Then came the "Tell me about your childhood" part. This was particularly frustrating for me because I felt like I knew exactly what she wanted me to say. I trotted out the story of my parents' divorce and my dad's departure to Liverpool knowing full well that she was thinking I'm an open-and-shut case.

Just before the end of the session, after telling her about my childhood up until the age of 11 (it was only afterwards I realised she hadn't asked me anything about my adolescence, which is where most of my major problems originated), we had to come up with some future goals. At this point, she annoyed me by saying "We don't have a magic wand. We can't just make it go away". I knew this very clearly and felt like she was being a little partronising. In the end, I just said what I knew she wanted to hear, without actually believing it: "I need to accept that I'll never be perfect and my best is good enough".

When I came out, I felt much less positive than when I had gone in. I was left with a feeling of being judged, patronised and like the whole experience was going to be detrimental to my mental health.

Luckily my second session was much better, but I'll be posting that in a couple of days' time, so look out for it! 

Other Posts
If this post has interested you, you can read my previous post in the series below. Please do share with anybody who it may help as, from my experience, it's very scary to start talking therapies with no knowledge of what to expect.

CBT Session 2
CBT Session 3

CBT Session 4
CBT Session 5
CBT Session 6


  1. I'm sorry to read that your first session wasn't so good! I'm glad your second session has gone well though, and I'd be interested to read that. Thank you for doing these posts, I bet so many people will find it helpful, me included :)

    Dannie x

  2. Ah, that sucks that your first session wasn't very good. I remember when I was in CBT I was a very sad 14 year old, and literally didn't say a word to my therapist for about 6 weeks! So it was probably an improvement on that, haha. Glad to hear things are getting better for you, hope they continue to do so! (: xxx

  3. I had a similar experience which has consequently really put my off any kind of talking therapy.

    I didn't go back for a second session, which in hindsight was not a good idea... So I really admire you for going back and am glad to hear it did get better!

    Bethan, Audacity of Food

  4. Although it sounds like you had a pretty shitty session, I can't help but love how honest you are about it. Looking forward to the next post!

    Frankie x

  5. That really sucks. I know some people have really positive experiences with these kind of things, but I was offered telephone consultations after I went to my GP. It was shite. They either rang late, or didn't ring at all. Then she left, so I had to start with someone new (Not her fault I know, but not easy). I had to 'rate' the same things every time, and it was just too easy to lie because I was so desperate for it to be true. At the end of the 'course', I was told the next option was group therapy or nothing. It wasn't great .

    Glad to hear your second session went better, looking forward to hearing about it xx

  6. I'm so sorry you had such a horrible experience on your first session. It really angers me that there are professional people out there that think it's okay to talk to their patients in such a rude and patronizing manner. Why do they even bother getting the qualifications? I really admire your honesty, and the fact you went back for other sessions. I doubt I would've found the courage to go back to a person like her. I hope they're getting easier. xx

  7. I'm really sorry your first session didn't go well, therapy is a place where you should feel safe and comfortable, and trust your therapist. I hope it will get better for you and that you can surpass some of what's troubling you.

  8. First sessions are always a little hit-and-miss for me. (I've changed therapists several times, though it was no-one's fault.) You go in, hoping for a flying start, and the pace is never quite right. I've had instances when I was so annoyed with my therapist, I couldn't think straight, but in hindsight, I can imagine that was the stress talking. With pretty much every therapist I've had since the first, the first few sessions are always about catching up on what I've done before and the major stuff. It's frustrating, but now I realize the therapist isn't a mind reader and it takes them more than an hour to get a feel of the situation.

    Awesome of you to have come back, I'm glad the second session was better!

  9. I'm so sorry you had a rubbish first one :( I was so lucky with who I saw for 6 months last year (once a week). It really helped me. I still definitely have a lot of issues especially with anxiety but it helped me get over the abusive relationship baggage I had.

    Can't wait to read your second post and I really do hope it starts helping you xxx

  10. Sorry your first session didn't go well. I hate feeling patronised, she sounds like not the best therapist. I've been thinking about CBT for my anxiety so Im looking forward to reading future posts about this. Thanks for posting :)

    Emma x
    Writing Essays With Wine

  11. This was so upsetting to read! I'm so sorry your first session didn't go well. Speaking to someone who turns it around and makes you feel patronized is such a horrible feeling but I really do admire how honest you were about it and I hope your second one is a lot better. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about this. Well done for having the courage to post this. It couldn't have been easy. xxx

  12. Ahh that's crappy that you didn't have a good first experience with your CBT. A good, easy-to-talk-to therapist is vital, so maybe if things don't improve then you could ask to be referred to someone else? Hope it gets better for you, xx

  13. I had a first and last session with a therapist that said the 'don't have a magic wand, can't make it go away' line. Surely they should know how saying things like that is counter-productive.

    Corinne x

  14. Oh I've just come across these post so I need to catch up on the other two. I have been waiting for my CBT appointments to come through for a year now and even though I really don't want to go to them it is frustrating that it is taking such a long time. Mine is to try and control my OCD and anxiety but they are never in a hurry to sort these things out! This sounds like a nightmare situation so I hope that you've settled in a bit now. I will definitely be checking out the other posts. Thanks so much for posting them!

  15. First session is usually a bit meh as you and the counsellor get to know each other. My very very first one was like this, I was patronised and she clearly didn't think I had a problem (don't know how what with the scores I was getting haha). Sometimes it's the counsellor that's the problem and you have to change until you find the one right for you, I'm gonna read your next ones though (just catching up on blog posts!) as you say it improved... xo


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