Ever wonder what your therapist thinks? There are so many misconceptions and myths about what therapy is really like. Stigma about mental illness and what actually happens in a therapist’s office can undermine a person’s healing process. Don’t let your initial thoughts hold you back from stepping into a counselor’s office. If you’ve never had therapy and haven’t been talking to people in your life who have, you’ve probably got some preconceived ideas about what it will be like, from movies and TV. Good therapists are a selfless and caring breed and genuinely want what’s best for you.
Here are some common questions and curiosities one might have about what is on your therapist’s mind. This should ease your mind and help you feel better about going to therapy.
The First Session is the Hardest
Taking that first step into your therapist’s office will be the hardest thing you do. At first, you might have some anxiety, not knowing what will happen, where to start, or how to even talk about your feelings. The more times you go, the easier it will be. Your therapist should be someone you feel comfortable sharing personal stuff with, if you don’t, then maybe you need to find a new therapist. It may take some time to get to the comfort level that you need to share, but with a good therapist, you will get there. Remember, you showed up. That’s a huge win!
Your Therapist is Not Judging You
When some people think about therapy sessions, they have the picture of a therapist sitting in a stale room, barely acknowledging their patient, and silently judging them. Before you even walk into the room, you need to let that image go. No matter what your fears about therapy might be, a good therapist can help reassure you; the process ultimately is meant to strengthen you. Putting your worries aside as you allow yourself to engage in the process fully can help you yield the best outcome for your treatment. Your therapist is on your side. This is the beauty of therapy.
There Are No Quick Fixes
How physical wounds take time to heal, so do emotional ones. You can be seeing the best therapist in the world and still not change overnight. In some cases, you may feel worse in the hours immediately following your first appointment. Especially if you don’t usually open up in this way, you will probably feel worn out afterward.
It takes time and effort to see long-lasting change. Go into therapy with the mindset that things can get better, just over time. Be patient and think of the overall journey, and you’ll get to where you are going.
Go at Your Own Pace
It might feel like you need to get everything off your chest during your first session, but you will have plenty of other sessions to talk. You may also be struggling to be vulnerable right away. Therapy sessions can go at your own pace. To get the most out of your sessions, therapists should know you personally and honestly. You’ll find the pace you want to go when it comes to sharing, and if you are not ready to go deeper, you can tell your therapist that you are not prepared. They will understand and take a step back.
They Know If and When You Don’t Need Them Anymore
Some might view therapy as a lifelong commitment, but that may not be the case. Some therapists suggest sessions continue indefinitely, but a good therapist will know when they are no longer needed. Therapists want to see you succeed and not need them anymore; that’s their job. It’s not uncommon that your therapist could recognize that you no longer need therapy before you do.
For some people, therapy is a scary thing. Talking to someone you just met about very personal topics isn’t the most natural thing. We all have the common questions about what your therapist thinks, so this should clear those up a little bit. Therapists are people too, but they are there to be a compassionate and understanding soundboard for you.