If you have never been to therapy before, it may seem like a mystery as to how it can be effective in helping you to deal with issues in your life. A common question asked is, “how can talking help me to feel better?”.
The therapeutic relationship
A key part of your therapy experience is the relationship you develop with your therapist. Feeling comfortable with your therapist, feeling that they are someone you can open up to and who will support you, is essential to a good outcome for you. I endeavour to make my clients feel welcome from our first contact. I am open and honest about the process, particularly that it can be really hard. Therapy is tough, and this is why having the right therapist to walk alongside you is so important.
What happens in a session?
So you have met a great therapist (hopefully me!), and you are ready to start. What should you expect from a session? At the beginning of the therapeutic process, time is spent getting to know each other. That doesn’t mean that therapy is a chat over a cuppa (although this can sometimes happen). It is your therapist’s job to make you feel at ease, and give you the space to work out what you want and need. This can sometimes mean that sessions are full of talking, either by you, or by you and your therapist, as you lay the foundations for the work. Sometimes there will be silences, a space your therapist offers you to work through your thoughts and feelings. There is no rush.
Often clients feel at the end of a session that a weight has been lifted, that there is relief in having had the opportunity to express themselves. Sometimes clients go away feeling thoughtful, or tired. All of these things are normal and everyone gets something different from a therapy session.
What happens next?
As the weeks go by, the work becomes deeper, and the relationship develops with your therapist. The space opens up, and oftentimes experiences, events, and emotions that you weren’t aware of show themselves. Your therapist is there with you during this, to help you through the tough times, and to celebrate the good times. I love nothing more as a therapist than when a client shares good news with me. Therapy is light and shade, we take the “good” with the “bad”.
How will I know when I should finish therapy?
There are a few things to consider when thinking about the duration of your therapy. For many people, cost is a factor, and it is important to be clear with yourself how long you will be able to maintain the ongoing cost.
Your therapist should undertake regular reviews with you about your progress. I will usually offer this roughly every 6 weeks. However, if you feel that you need a break for any reason, discuss this with your therapist. It is important to have a ‘good ending’ to your therapy, with any remaining loose ends addressed. Also, it offers closure to the therapeutic relationship, a relationship which for many people is one of the deepest and most meaningful they will experience.
Can I come back to therapy if I want to?
Yes! You absolutely can. Your period of therapy is not your one shot, now or never. Many people return to therapy repeatedly over their lifetime, and this is often a form of self-care that is little discussed. Keeping the door to therapy open, knowing it is there if you need it, can be very reassuring as we move through life.
If you have any more questions about what to expect from the therapeutic process, please do get in touch.