Deciding to get therapy can be a hard yet wonderful choice. Even when we’re aware of the benefits, it can take some courage to finally take that leap of faith and set up an appointment for ourselves. People hold many myths about therapy, that’s why it can feel like an overwhelming experience before you start.
Therapy is not a magic pill. It requires effort and commitment on your part. That being said, talking to a qualified mental health professional is an experience like none other. So, if you’re deciding to get therapy or have scheduled an appointment, there must be lots of questions on your mind.
So, what are some important things about therapy and what should you realistically expect? Let’s take a look down below.
1. They will listen to you
Therapists are trained professionals at advanced listening. Unlike our friends and family, they pay complete attention to us, understand us, and don’t interrupt us. You can open up everything you feel in front of them and they will listen to you. They will even ask questions so they totally understand what you’re going through. The focus of your conversation will always be on you and what you’re going through.
2. You will not be judged
Therapists believe in the values of their patients. They don’t judge or criticize you for having certain thoughts and behaviors. Often, in our social interactions, we hide how we truly feel or think because others judge us. But this is not the case with a therapist. You can be truly open and expressive and finally share what really goes on in your head. You can be totally honest. In short, you will not be judged for being who you are.
3. Honesty is everything
We get it, sharing your deepest fears and insecurities with a complete stranger can be a difficult thing to swallow. However, your therapist is not an average stranger. They are trained professionals that have a history of dealing with and solving a wide spectrum of psychological issues in hundreds of patients. To listen to you, and deeply understand your issues so they can solve your problem.
So, you have to be completely and utterly honest with them about how you feel and what you’re going through. If you’re honest, it will be easier for them to get to the roots of your problems and devise the best strategies and coping mechanisms. If you’re not honest, you won’t see any benefits from your therapy.
4. Therapy is a safe space
Everything you say to your therapist stays only in that room. Therapists have a confidentiality policy in which none of your information will be leaked or shared with anyone else. Whatever you share stays between you and your therapist and no one knows about it. You do drugs? Tell them. They won’t call the cops on you unless it’s an extremely illegal act. So, don’t be embarrassed to bring up things and share everything you feel.
5. If your therapist isn’t the right fit, you can always change
The first person you meet may not be the right person for you, and it’s completely normal. If you feel like you have good chemistry, you can stay. But if things don’t seem to be working well, there are always other therapists you can see. Therapy at first is like dating, you won’t always find the exact person right in the beginning. You can initially go to any therapist and then if you feel like changing, you can always try someone else who might get to know you better.
6. You don’t have to stay in therapy for the rest of your life
Therapy can be both short-term or long-term. If you recently had a bad experience that has severely impacted your life, then chances are that you will work things out with your therapist over a couple of sessions and that’s it. However, if you have a long history of problems, your therapy might take longer such as weeks or even months. But, it does not always have to
7. You don’t always have to discuss something big
There will be sessions when you feel like you’ve told everything you needed to tell. But therapy isn’t always about discussing something severe. In such cases, your therapist can teach you additional things and really talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to your problems. Now, as you have the burden off of your mind, you can focus your attention on solutions.
8. Therapy won’t always be comfortable
During your sessions, your therapist may disclose things about yourself that you won’t like. You might come across some uncomfortable facts. But, remember, you have to keep an open mind. Therapy will require some effort, commitment, and hard work for you to see the results. Being honest with not only your therapist but yourself is essential. So, it won’t always be a joyride. Just remember, it’s a part of the process.
9. You will have to do your homework
Therapy is not only confined to talking to your therapist and letting your emotions out. The real deal is working on yourself to get better. Your therapist will first talk about your problems and try to help you see things in a different way. After that, you will be assigned some tasks and homework. You will have to put in dedication and commitment to solving those tasks. This homework will further reinforce your coping mechanisms and the new skills you learned during therapy.
10. You will get to know yourself better
Discussing your deepest feelings will bring a lot of buried stuff on the surface. You will learn the major reasons for your behaviors and what unconsciously motivates your actions. Why you reached the state you are in right now. And why you need to fix those underlying issues too with your current problems.
Knowing these things before therapy will take the unnecessary intimidation out of it. Therapy is there to help you overcome your deepest problems. Seeing it for what it is and deciding to get therapy can be a stepping stone for living your life the way you want.