What to Expect at Your First Therapy Session 

Many people who think that therapy might help them are nonetheless scared to start the process. Some people with diagnosed or suspected OCD feel an even greater sense of trepidation due to the nature of their obsessions, which can include very distressing and taboo content. Sufferers of PTSD may fear that they will be asked to describe their traumatic experiences in detail right away to a stranger, and this anxiety may serve as an additional barrier to seeking care. 

If this describes you, know you are not alone!

Many people who come to therapy for the first time are understandably nervous and don’t know what to expect. A free telephone or in-person consultation can help introduce you to the therapy process and your prospective therapist. This allows both of you to make sure that you are a good fit for one another and that the problems you are facing are ones your potential therapist is equipped to help you overcome. When you attend your initial consultation or first therapy appointment, your therapist will help to set you at ease and get to know you as a person. Building a trusting and warm rapport is an essential element of the therapeutic process and will help you feel a sense of hope and confidence that your therapist can help you get better. 

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Rachel Tombaugh
Rachel has devoted her professional life to helping others heal and reclaim their true potential, working as a psychotherapist and Licensed Professional Counselor in Arizona since 2011. Her therapy approach utilizes a unique combination of compassion, warmth, humor, and clinical excellence. Rachel believes that therapy should feel hopeful and connected, yet maintain focus on clinical sophistication and excellence. Equipped with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Arizona State University and earning her Masters of Professional Counseling from Ottawa University, Rachel’s education inspired her to build a career devoted to helping people live with purpose, confidence, and joy. An accomplished writer and editor, Rachel has contributed to several publications devoted to education and advocacy with respect to OCD and anxiety. Rachel has extensive experience working in renowned treatment facilities in both the public and private sectors of healthcare, serving as Primary Therapist at an inpatient treatment facility for eating and anxiety disorders, developing specialty trauma and anxiety programs as a Clinical Director, and training and developing other therapists as Clinical Supervisor. Most recently, Rachel has worked within the private practice setting and has dedicated her efforts exclusively to the treatment of OCD, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. Offering a clinical repertoire that creates change and ensures meaningful results, Rachel has achieved advanced training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Inference-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) for the treatment of OCD and anxiety, and extensive training in trauma-focused modalities including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Each of these treatment approaches benefits from substantial evidence that it is effective, efficient, and creates positive change that can be trusted. Rachel brings great compassion, warmth, enthusiasm, humor, fun, and innovation to her therapy for each client and is passionate about working with people who have suffered from the traps of anxiety and trauma. Rachel is licensed in both Arizona and New Mexico and offers therapy in person and virtually in Arizona, and via telehealth in New Mexico. When not working with her clients, Rachel loves spending time outdoors with her family, her horse (“Gabriel”), several rescue pets, and a family of screech owls who live at her home in north Phoenix.