Taking the steps to seek support can be very scary and takes a lot of strength, and not knowing what to expect can trigger fear and anxiety. Healing can be ‘messy’ and it takes time, but it is worth the effort.
Not all therapy looks the same. Each clinician has a unique approach to therapy built from from their own life experiences and personality. Its important to find a clinician and approach that you connect with. Not every therapist or strategy will fit with what you need. The most important thing is to find a therapist that is a good fit for you. Therapy is hard work, and you need to find someone that you will be able to form trust with and have a strong therapeutic relationship with.
Your initial session is an opportunity for you to meet your clinician and to determine if they would be a good fit. It should be someone who you feel you can form a strong therapeutic relationship with. It is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have and discuss the goals you hope to reach during the therapeutic process. Be prepared to let your clinician know what thoughts, behaviours, and/or experiences have been most concerning to you and how they impact your every day life. Your clinician will invite you to discuss a little about yourself and how life has been for you up until this point. He/she may also invite you to discuss the relationships you’ve had at different stages in your life. Let your clinician know your current coping strategies as well as your current support system. Keep in mind that this is a safe place and your clinician is not here to judge you.
After meeting with your clinician and identifying your goals, your clinician will suggest a treatment plan and discuss frequency of sessions. Often, clients will have their minds set on a specific approach, but it is important to focus more on your desired outcomes and to allow the clinician to guide the sessions. As you move through the healing process, it is important to know that healing is not always linear, there will be good days, and bad days and some in between. Healing can be messy, so allow yourself time to rest after each session because therapy is hard work.
It is normal for people to feel like there is something wrong with them or that they are broken, but rest assured that is not true. We all have baggage. Seeking support takes a lot of strength and although there is stigma attached, it is a healthy and normal to do. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as and taking care of our physical health and should be looked at in the same way. There is nothing wrong with a check-up every now and then. We are here to help you and to support you. Be as open and honest as you can and know that there is hope.
For more in-depth information on the therapy process, visit Thinking About Therapy? A Beginners Guide to Seeking Professional Support – Part 1 and Thinking About Therapy? A Beginners Guide to Seeking Professional Support – Part 2
Amy Shaw, MSW, RSW
B. Skinner Coaching & Psychotherapy