If you have never seen a therapist before, you may be nervous about the experience. In fact, these nerves may be preventing you from taking the steps to improve your mental health. Counseling shouldn’t be a scary process, but it is normal to feel apprehensive in a new environment. That’s why we created this guide – to help you feel more at ease about starting therapy. Read on to learn what to expect from therapy, step-by-step.
The First Appointment
Your first therapy session is mostly an ice-breaker. It gives you a chance to meet your therapist and ask questions about the process. It also lets your therapist learn a little about your life and your reasons for seeking counseling. You might talk about your life, your personal struggles, your goals, and other topics you will tackle in more detail over the subsequent weeks.
Between Therapy Appointments
After your first therapy appointment, your therapist may give you an activity to do at home. This will be a simple task, like writing down an experience from your past or the biggest goals you want to achieve with therapy. Your therapist may also give you something to think about before your next therapy session. (Example: “What is your earliest memory of anxiety?”) Moving forward with therapy, you may be asked to complete other ‘homework’ assignments in between sessions. Your therapy sessions only represent 1 hour out of 168 hours in the week. If you have bi-weekly meetings, the ratio is even more extreme. You can make a great deal of progress in between therapy appointments, as long as you apply the lessons you’re learning along the way.
The Results over Time
Therapy is not a cookie-cutter process, nor is it linear. Some people work with a therapist for a few months to overcome a specific issue in their lives. Others maintain a long-term relationship with their therapist as part of their support system. Your progress will be completely unique to you, but one thing remains certain: your therapist will be there for you every step of the way.
How Often Should I See a Therapist?
Most of our clients see a therapist once a week. However, some may have bi-weekly therapy sessions, while others have multiple appointments each week. Clients who use a combination of services, such as individual therapy and couples counseling, may come in more frequently than others. It all depends on what your personal needs are and how we can best address them through therapy. When you contact our office at (978) 222-3121, we can help you determine the best setup for you or your family.
Just as it’s important to know what to expect from therapy, you should know what not to expect. This ensures that you go into the process with realistic goals. Continue to the second half of this discussion to learn What NOT to Expect from Therapy.