What to Expect
The idea of going to therapy can be very intimidating for many people. For some it even seems downright weird. "Why would I go and tell my problems to a total stranger?" you might think. There are several good answers to that!
- Your information is totally confidential and you do not have to worry about it getting spread amongst your family or friends.
- Because we are not a part of your “real world” we do not have a personal investment in your choices, therefore you can freely express yourself without fear of backlash or judgments. We will however offer guidance based on your desired goals.
- Because we are not a part of your “real world” you also have no emotional attachment to us which also makes it easier to be open to ideas or possibilities that we may suggest versus hearing it from your significant other, parent, or friend.
- Therapy provides clients with an opportunity to get a less biased, more objective opinion about things, and the therapist can function like a sounding board.
- Where else in your life do you get 45 minutes of someone’s undivided attention? Where else in your life would you give yourself 45 minutes of your own undivided attention?
Common Fears or Myths of Therapy
What will the therapist think of me?
Many people fear that the therapist will judge them harshly when the therapist hears their story. Please know that we are aware of how difficult it is to come to that first appointment and tell your story. Part of our role as therapist is to be a witness to your journey, not to judge it.
I will feel embarrassed.
We can’t tell you not to feel embarrassed as people have a right to their feelings. However, we can explain that therapy can be a very vulnerable experience and that can feel uncomfortable at times. But therapy can also be a highly rewarding experience when positive changes occur.
I won't know what to say.
The therapists are trained to help guide you through the session, even if you are unsure of what to say, or how to say something.
What if I cry?
Many people feel uncomfortable about crying, but it is healthy. It is just a way for your body to release some emotional energy, much like steam from a tea kettle. We hope you feel so supported and understood in this environment that if tears come to you, it will feel natural and okay.
I should be able to fix my own problems!
Well first of all, we can assure you that we will not be fixing your problems. That is your job. You decide on your goals, and we can help you navigate toward those goals, but in the end the work is all yours. We cannot “make you” do anything, therefore, once you leave our office, it’s all you! Furthermore, people do not think twice about asking a doctor for medical advice or a financial planner for financial advice because those are not everyone’s area of expertise. Sometimes we look to others for guidance. Therapy exists for the same reason as financial planners and medical providers.
The first appointment is usually the most intimidating for clients as they do not know what to expect. So here is a glimpse of how to prepare yourself.
- You will be asked to arrive to your appointment 30 minutes early to complete paperwork, or 10 minutes early if you printed the intake forms and completed them prior to your session. The receptionist will ask you to sign a Clinician-Patient and Financial agreement form, make a copy of your insurance card, and collect your copay if you have one.
- Your therapist will be notified, come to the lobby to meet you, and bring you back to their office.
- The therapist will take the intake form you completed and use it as a guide throughout the session to help ask any clarifying questions about your symptoms or situation. The therapist may ask questions about your family of origin, your relationships, and any concerns you may have indicated on the intake. You do not need to share more than you are ready for. All information you share is confidential unless you indicate that you have intentions to hurt yourself or someone else, as we are mandated reporters.
- The session is approximately 45 minutes long.
- At the end of the session the therapist will clarify with you, your goals for therapy and share ideas for how they can help guide you.
- If you are in agreement with continuing therapy, you and your therapist will schedule any follow-up appointments. The number of times a client is seen varies greatly on the issues and situations each person is dealing with. Sessions often start out weekly in order to make progress on the issues at hand, and then sessions typically space out as symptoms decline.
- As you are leaving your appointment you may feel a variety of emotions, ranging from anxiety to a great sense of relief having shared your story. Whatever your reaction, please feel free to discuss your experience with your therapist to help you process any thoughts and/or feelings during that vulnerable time.