I am a non-native speaker, looking for an alternative to the term session to describe a meeting with, for example, a psychiatrist.

It was my first session with the shrink.

If needed, that is. That means I do not know if there is any better word to use in such a context. I could think of sitting, but this seems too broad, too.

  • 1
    really, "session" is about the only word. you could say "hour" ("during my first hour with the shrink we talked about dreams...") you can also say "appointment" as you tend to for say 'dentist". it's a good question.
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 15:36
  • 1
    '...first visit to the shrink'
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 15:38
  • 1
    agree with all the above; you could also say, "it was my first time seeing the shrink," which is a construction we use fairly frequently when referring to appointments with doctors, dentists, counselors, etc. (And we might also say, e.g., "You still have a fever? Have you seen a doctor?" or "She's been through quite an ordeal, perhaps she should see a counselor.")
    – vstrong
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


As a psychotherapist, I prefer the term "session;" however, I also use "appointment" in speaking to patients and colleagues, but when speaking to colleagues and not patients, I may also use "interview," "clinical hour," and "hour". Some examples of things I say to patients: When is our next appointment? What was this session about? How do you feel about your session today? But when I write child custody evaluations I am more formal: "A child interview was conducted with Tom and his siblings, Mary and David. The child had been playing with an electronic toy in the waiting room. He entered the consulting room without anxiety while his mother waited in the waiting room." "The mother arrived 10 minutes late for the interview."

  • Due to the thorough insight in actual conversation samples, this was one of the most helpful answers I ever have received on SE. Thank you. Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 17:39
  • Say, Doc, do you think I'm crazy for spending this much time on this site, or do I have to schedule a session with you to find out? Just wondering.
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 19:52
  • Actually, I wonder if I may become addicted to this site myself. I found myself spending much more time here yesterday than I had anticipated. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 18:26

"Session" is fine as is. Possible alternatives include "meeting" or "consultation" or "appointment" or "visit to". But none of those are a clear improvement over "session".

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