Therapy can feel daunting when exploring it for the first time. Many clients express in early sessions that they have made several attempts to pursue therapy, but backed out due to ambivalence, stress and overwhelm. This delay in commencing treatment often strengthens the belief that therapy is a reactive response to a crisis, rather than proactive approach to managing their mental health.
For those of you who are contemplating meeting with a therapist
Here are some thoughts and tips to normalise the ambivalence you may be experiencing to pick up the phone, and organise your first session:
- It’s okay to feel nervous in your first session. Sometimes, when we open up and start to share, it can feel a little uncomfortable to begin with. Let’s be honest, you’re sharing your thoughts with someone you’ve met for the first time, hoping to build a connection with them. That’s a huge step and one that needs to be applauded!
- It’s not uncommon to walk away from your first session feeling vulnerable and drained. The best thing to do if you experience this is to be gentle with yourself, as it may take the rest of the day, or even a few days, to get back to feeling like yourself.
- Your therapist is here to provide an impartial, non-judgemental space for you to work through your treatment goals and share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Sometimes, this may mean you have to try out a couple of therapists (like therapy speed dating) to find someone that you feel is suitable to your needs.
- Therapy is a collaborative experience between you and your therapist. You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to addressing your goals and areas of concern.
- Therapy is here to help you understand patterns of thoughts and behaviours, increasing your self-awareness. By unpacking and understanding why we do what we do, it provides us with the opportunity to make changes in our life. Therapists can offer you coping strategies and skills to help you cope with issues such as stress, improving communication, managing depression and anxiety symptoms, and dealing with imposter syndrome (to name a few).
- Nothing is too small to bring to sessions. Many people have the belief that they need to be in crisis, or receive a formal diagnosis to attend therapy. Therapy is a space to discuss all matters that you are looking to change.
- Therapy isn’t serious all the time. There is room for laughter, play, and celebratory moments. We take the opportunity to focus on the highs, as well as the lows, and everything in between.
- Therapy takes time – we cannot sprint a marathon. For some people, their goals may involve coming in for a few sessions to learn some coping strategies to help them with a stressful event. For others, it may start off with a short-term goal, and eventually, they may want to explore others goals following some aha moments in sessions. There is no set period of time with therapy, and you may notice your attendance vary over time depending on the stressors in your life.
If you’re looking to start therapy, and feel this is the right space for you, be sure to contact me to discuss what you’d like to work on and take the opportunity to have a free 15 minute consultation with me.