What should someone expect from mental health counseling? A question I  get quite often as a mental health professional. There are many types of counselors out there, but this article will focus on licensed professional counselors. 

If you just booked your first visit- congratulations! If you’re thinking about booking your first visit- also congratulations. You are taking the first steps to get to where you want to be. 

This blog will outline the qualifications of a professional counselor, opening up to a professional, a discussion on what brought you in, and some quick mental health tips! 

Licensed Professional Counselor Qualifications  

A professional counselor attains a license to conduct a professional relationship to accomplish a client’s goals pertaining to mental health, wellness, education, or career. These professional counselors, at a minimum, graduate with a Master’s Degree in their field. 

Additionally, they must obtain a state license and different certifications to practice with clients. Once they obtain their state license, they must work under an experienced counselor for 40 educational credits for a period of two years. With that being said, each state has its own set of qualifications for licensure.

Open Up To Your Mental Health Counselor 

Opening up during mental health counseling is key to having a successful session. This process is all about them learning who you are, what you want to achieve, and how to get you to the place you want to be. Be open and honest about your life- struggles and successes! 

During this process, you will also learn more about your counselor. Feel free to ask questions about their background, credentials, and so on. 

Discuss What Brought You In

Be open and honest about what brought you in. Mental health counselors are professionally trained to help with whatever life may throw at you. Nothing is too big or too small for them to help you through. 

In order for them to fully help you, they need to know what brought you in and how they can best assist you! 

Quick Tips For Your Counseling Session 

Here are some quick tips for your first mental health counseling session: 

  • Show up 15 minutes early for any paperwork that may need to be completed prior to your appointment. 
  • You may get emotional at times discussing your past, and it’s okay- counselors are trained for tears! 
  • Be prepared to have a conversation with your counselor; they will ask some open-ended questions to get a better sense of who you are. 
  • Be as open and honest as possible about your past and where you are currently. 


Congratulations on taking the first steps to get to where you want to be! I am confident this article will help you navigate your first mental health counseling visit. 

To learn more about counseling and mental health, check out my blog page here