Struggles in the here-and-now can often be compounded by the unconscious ways we respond to them.
Starting therapy can be a powerful and moving experience, it has the potential to be a major turning point in your life.
HOW IT CAN HELP
Many people arrive in therapy with the question: “what’s wrong with me?” but the more pertinent question is: “what’s happened to me?”
You may be contemplating therapy with a clear idea of what you need help with, but for many, it can be difficult to identify the origins of distressing feelings or make sense of problems rooted in the past. Whatever the issue, there are often signs that suggest therapy could be beneficial. You may be experiencing:
Although struggles such as these can be a problem, they are not always ‘the’ problem; they are often the product of a deeper issue rooted in our unconscious. By exploring your experiences and feelings with a therapist, these obstructive unconscious behaviours can be unearthed. This not only brings relief from your distress, but an increased awareness can also facilitate positive change in your life as you find new ways of managing situations or emotions.
THE INITIAL CONSULTATION
It is not uncommon to feel apprehensive about starting therapy. The first encounter can be both a relief and a source of anxiety. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared and less nervous about meeting.
The first session is a consultation and lasts 50 – 90 minutes. It helps ease you into therapy and initiates the process of working together to understand some of the difficulties that may have led you to seek help. This initial consultation is structured differently to on-going therapy sessions. I am likely to ask a lot of questions about the concerns you want to deal with and about how you would like your life to be after therapy. Equally, I will enquire about aspects of your life that are going well so that I can identify what has kept you resilient and able to cope through your difficulties.
The initial consultation helps you decide if therapy could be helpful for you, provides an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have and allows you to decide whether you are going to feel comfortable working with me. The consultation is also an opportunity for me to decide whether I am a good fit for you. By the end of this session we can then decide whether to continue with further appointments.
The initial consultation does not commit you to continuing with therapy.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT
We all have many different parts to our personalities, some we would like to hide, and others we would like to show. Many clients censor themselves, especially during the first meeting for fear of judgment, through embarrassment or appearing impolite. Starting psychotherapy is about investing in yourself and your future and by opening up and talking honestly about your experiences and feelings you are committing to the most integral part of your therapeutic journey.
Therapy helps identify and offer insight into unconscious dynamics, opening up the possibility of changing behaviours.