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Attending therapy for the first time can be daunting. No, let me rephrase that, it is daunting. Especially if you’ve never done it before and your only experience with it is what you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. One thing I can assure you is that therapy is not like it is in the movies. It takes a lot of courage to decide to attend therapy and even more courage to make the phone call, schedule the appointment, and walk through the front door. Here are some insider tips about therapy and those first encounters.
It is ok to tell the therapist that you’re nervous. But seriously, a good therapist is already going to recognize that. The first session is more of a meet and greet and “get-to-know-you” than anything else. This is where diagnosis and treatment planning occurs. This first session is not like future sessions. The first session tends to be more technical than personal, but it gives you opportunity to share your goals and to decide if the therapist is a good match. Comfort and rapport are essential to therapeutic process. If you don’t think it’s a good match, say so. While therapeutic progress takes time, you should follow your gut on whether or not you can be vulnerable with the therapist. If it is not a good fit, progress will take even longer. A professional therapist will not be offended if it’s not feeling ok for you. Therapists recognize how important the relationship is for moving forward.
Subsequent sessions are more in-depth and focus on healing and growth. These take vulnerability. Openness. A willingness to be uncomfortable and insightful. Therapeutic approaches are different for different therapists, but the one thing that remains the same is the need for comfort, respect, and vulnerability. So go ahead and engage in some self-care via therapy!