I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all- on the contrary. It takes a certain level of maturity and self-awareness to know that you need help, and it takes courage to reach out for that help.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Friends and family can have good intentions, but they don’t always know how to steer the conversation in the direction of healing for you. There is quite a bit of nuance that goes into therapy- your therapist will be drawing on a myriad of tools to help you from a host of different modalities. She can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, notice patterns, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Also, therapy is completely confidential, so you won’t have to worry about others “knowing your business”. Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, you may feel bad about burdening your friend, or when your situation improves you might avoid them so as not to recall the difficult time. With your therapist, you can feel safe to bring up the absolute most difficult feelings in the context of a treatment that can weather the ups and downs of your different moods and states.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication in conjunction with therapy can be very powerful. If you take medication without therapy, it might also prove helpful, but you’ll be missing out on an inner exploration that leaves you more in charge of your mental health for the long-term. In our work together we can figure out whether medication is right for you, and I can offer you a referral to a prescribing provider.
What do I have to do in sessions?
When you come in for a session, it is okay to begin to free associate, letting your thoughts and feelings lead without too much preparation or organization. I’ll be interested in what’s going on inside of you. As you speak, I will slow you down so that we can get to the core feelings that you are experiencing (since people often rush through or gloss over important parts of their experience). I may ask you some questions in order to deepen that experience, and then we will talk about what happened. Here is a bit more that I’ve written on “What to Talk about in Therapy.”
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstance is unique and the length of time therapy can take depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling 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 will be crucial to your success. People who are engaged with the therapy process outside of sessions contribute greatly to the outcome of therapy. Reading books, journal writing, noting dreams or impressions after our sessions can all go a long way in deepening your process.