Why going to therapy does not mean you are weak or flawed
I hear this fear a lot, it is the most common barrier to someone starting therapy.
This concept of talking to someone about what you are going through is not a new or ground breaking experience in our every day lives. You typically call a friend or a family member and vent about another friend, a decision at work, a power issue with your boss, a fight with a partner. It is human nature to explore these things and search for answers- whether that means with other people, books, advice columns, or even in our own minds. Now, what if you could explore these issues without the guilt/discomfort/frustration of a biased friends judgements getting in the way? What if the advice column could respond when you have more questions? What if your mind is stopping short at a solution purely because you haven’t pulled it apart fully in the presence of someone who enjoys listening, someone who is trained for years to look for things that we generally miss? That is what a therapist is there to do. If the story you tell yourself is that therapy makes you flawed, we can rewrite that story.
Had a negative therapy experience?
I can relate!! Therapy is a highly subjective experience- what works for one person may not work for someone else. Therefore, having a good fit is extremely important. Regardless of the reason for your bad experience, I get that it can be disappointing and keep you from wanting to take that step again. I applaud you for coming here in this moment and looking again, its not always easy. I will want to hear about what did not work for you with previous therapists and we will discuss expectations using a transparent attitude to decide if we feel this is a good fit. Sometimes its the therapist, sometimes its the readiness of you, and sometimes its just a matter of connection.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
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.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
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 a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. It is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.