Starting therapy can be a daunting task for anyone. There are a lot of mixed feelings and second guessing yourself if you really need it. The first session is often the most difficult. You sit before someone you likely have never met and you are about to discuss your personal life and troubles that have brought you here.
Some of the thoughts that race through your mind are “I shouldn’t need this, I should be able to work it out with a friend, I don’t need therapy!” There are many things that you can work out with your friends, don’t leave them out of your journey. They are the ones that you will need to debrief with as you begin to explore, expose and transform through your work in sessions. But there are times when what you need to work through requires the safety of a safe confidential space with someone who is objective that can help you identify behavioural patterns, hold your story and provide resources for the journey to wholeness.
Another thought you may experience is, “I can’t tell my story, it’s just too hard” That is exactly why therapists and counsellors are here for you. We are experienced in listening to the most painful, traumatic stories. We are able to keep perspective and offer from our skillset tools to help you begin your journey to healing. We offer a space to learn that relationships can be good, healthy and that you can trust again.
“What will people think if they find out I go to therapy?” This is a thought EVERY client comes to therapy with. Leaders, pastors, teachers, parents, you name the title, they come through our doors for help at some point. Guess what, even therapists have therapists! Even as much as society is working to change the stigma around mental health and seeking help for it, we still have a long way to go. One thing that I can guarantee is that people will never find out from the therapist! Confidentiality is the foundation to building a trusting therapeutic relationship. We are bound by law and governing bodies to strong ethical practices to ensure that you are protected in every way. What I often tell clients is that if people find out they should praise you for your courage! While many choose not to, you taking this step is a huge step of courage and movement towards the healing you are searching for.
“What if I don’t like the therapist?” If you find that the therapist you have chosen is not a good fit, you are free to cancel at anytime. The first session is often like an interview, only it is the therapist being interviewed! This is the time to ask whatever is on your mind. I close the first session, which we call the intake session, with asking the client how they feel about working with me. I ensure that they are not obligated and that I understand I will not be a good fit for every client. Some have felt that they would prefer a woman to talk to and I am able to then refer them to a female colleague. No hurt feelings. This is about you and what you need.
“I don’t know what to talk about but I felt I should come see you” This is common! some people recognize that they are not “feeling like I used to”. They notice they are feeling depressed, sad, tired, anxious, but are not sure where it is coming from. The first couple or even few sessions can feel messy. It feels like you are bouncing around stories, timelines and events and you fear you are not making any sense. that is okay! We are trained to track with you, listen for the common threads throughout, all while staying with you moment by moment.
If you are still unsure after reading this, please call! Having a conversation about the possibility of beginning therapy can help to ease any anxiety around it. You will then be able to make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right step for you. Calling does not obligate you to seek help from that specific therapist. We believe that your care and your sense of security come first. Talk to a friend or someone you know who has gone to therapy and find out what was helpful and even what was not helpful. All these steps will help you choose who and what is right for you as you continue your journey to greater health!