Do I really need therapy? I’m used to handling things on my own.
Sometimes we think that therapy is only for people who have severe problems. However, it has become more common for people to seek therapy for all types of problems, big or small. Having a professional help you navigate through life’s challenges just makes sense and can improve the quality of your life. Some reasons that you might want to seek therapy include:
- Major life transitions like moving, job change, or divorce
- Underachievement in School
- Worries about getting into the right College
- Support during a crisis
- Relationship Problems
- Anxiety, Depression, or life Stress
- Improved health and wellness
- Personal Growth
What’s the difference between talking to you and talking to a friend or family member?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
How do I know you’re the right therapist for me?
Feeling comfortable with your therapist is The most important factor in a successful therapy. The best way to determine if I will be a good therapist for you is to call and talk with me. Here are some things you can look for as we talk to see if I am a good fit for you:
- Do you feel comfortable talking with me?
- Do you feel I hear and understand your concerns?
- Do you feel that I accepted you and don’t judge you?
- Do you feel that you can be open and honest with me?
- Do you feel that I’m qualified to help you with the concerns that motivated you to call me?
- Do you feel hopeful and motivated to reach the goals you’ve set?
No therapist is right for everyone, so please feel free to ask me questions and make a decision based on your needs.
How long does therapy take?
The length of therapy can be difficult to predict, it depends upon a number of factors that are unique to you and your goals. My goal for you is to help you feel better as quickly as possible. Your progress will depend on where you are at in terms of self awareness and willingness to try something different. I usually tell my clients to be willing to try therapy for 8-12 session then assess whether or not it is helping. Some issues are longstanding and have been resistant to your previous attempts to resolve them. If this is the case we will continually monitor what is and isn’t working, but know that therapy will probably take longer for these persistent issues.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for 50 minutes a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development. The following are some things that can help you get the most out of therapy:
- Schedule sessions at a good time. For example, late in the evening you may be tired and struggle to do any deep reflection. Or if therapy is in the middle of the day you may want to give yourself some time for a cup of tea before you have to rush back to work or to the next task of your day.
- Take care of business first. Handling payment, scheduling, and insurance questions at the beginning of the session frees us up to dive into deeper issues. That way we aren’t rushing at the end when you might be feeling more emotional. Also, while these issues may seem mundane, they can become part of the therapy.
- Decide if you want to set goals for your Therapy. Some people may have a general goal like personal growth. Others have a specific issue to work on like, “Learning ways to relax and reduce stress.” or “Learning some positive communication skills.” If you know what your goal is from the beginning that’s great. If you’re not clear about your goal don’t worry, together we can clarify what you would like to work on.
- Set markers for change. Even before the first session think about how you will know that you are done with therapy? What will be different in your life to indicate that things are better? Again, if you are not clear about this don’t worry, we can discuss it together and keep checking in along the way.
- Think of Therapy as a course about You. Ask questions, read books or articles, and you may even want some “Homework” in between sessions.
- Keep the work going between sessions. Find ways to generally pay more attention to your thoughts throughout the week. You may find it helpful to keep a journal or take time to meditate. You may want to write down reflections after your session or take time to gather your thoughts in preparation for your next session. You also may want to look for other community support to supplement therapy, like a support group or a spiritual community.
- Know that you can say anything in therapy. With many people in our lives we censor what we say because it’s not polite, we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or certain subjects are taboo and we don’t want to be judged. Therapy is a place where you can talk about things and NOT be judged. And if you are not happy with something I do or feel like the therapy is not a good match, Please let me know. My feelings will not be hurt, and it’s important that you are getting what you need.
- Talk about The Process in therapy. Therapy is a relationship too, and you will probably start to notice that the same issues you deal with in life are showing up in therapy as well. Some people take this as a sign that therapy isn’t working, but actually this is just how the process works. Therapy is a safe place where you can finally work through these issues rather than just continue to struggle.
- Have faith in The Process. The process of change is never linear. Sometimes things seem to get worse before they get better. Maybe you feel like you make some progress only to find yourself falling back into old patterns. You could also feel like you keep coming back to the same issues over and over. Especially long standing or persistent issues may have many layers to them. If you have faith and stick with the process I believe you will find therapy to be transformative, even beyond what you were hoping for when you first walked in the door.