Post # 1
So I made an appointment through my EAP at work to see a counselor/therapist (I don’t know the difference – he’s an LPC…is that a doctor?) tomorrow afternoon regarding anxiety (see the original post here), and I have no idea what to expect. I’ve never known anyone who went to therapy besides a former roommate who was addicted to all sorts of drugs/booze, so this will obviously be different.
I’m just worried I’m going to go in and the therapist will try to make me cry, blame things on my parents or Fiance, or take all sorts of meds for the rest of my life…because I don’t cry (ha, maybe that would help!), I’m happy with my parents and Fiance, and the idea of taking pills forever scares me.
Post # 4
Hi there! Good for you! When I first when to therapy my therapist asked me why I came in and what was going on in my life at the time. I had a lot going on to “unpack” (that’s what she calls really talking about things in depth and it is GREAT) so we did not get into my childhood until a few months in when my life calmed down. I walked in crying but she has never, ever tried to make me cry nor has she done anything I’m not comfortable with. She operates under the idea that this is MY time so I get to call the shots. And it works.
You do not have to take pills if you don’t want to! But pills are not the devil nor are they necessarily forever!
Post # 5
I can’t tell you exactly what to expect but most therapy starts out sort of gradually with a getting to know you phase. I have been asked why I wanted to try therapy and what I hoped to gain from therapy so those might be some things to prepare for. I know that I tend to be on the anxious side too and knowing what to expect helps. it will probably be a little bit like an interview to make sure you are both a good fit. Remember there are lots of therapists with different styles and techniques and personalities so if this one doesn’t fit don’t be afraid to try someone else. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions!
Post # 6
hi, i am working on becoming an lpc, or licensed professional counselor. it is a masters level counselor that is licensed in their state, which usually requires two or three years of post degree experience. we are well trained to diagnose and treat, but not prescribe meds. you should expect the first session, or intake, to likely be a gathering of information about your presenting problem and history. be as forthcoming as you can becaus it helps inform subsequent treatment. good therapists wont make you do anything but will offer insights or suggestions. we really want the client to figure things out themselves. but a good therapist will also provide education about anxiety and other topics, esp if youve never had therapy. you may cry or get upset, but thats okay. we often say things will get worse before they get better bc you are emotionally vulnerable. good luck.
Post # 7
Hurray for you!! I am actually completely in the same boat as you. I read your last post and i could have written it.
After suffering with anxiety and depression for years, i finally called a counsellor a few weeks ago and had my first session Friday, with a follow up session yesterday.
I cried the entire hour on friday. We talked about everything. Why i was there, what was causing it. Etc etc etc. We still have so much to cover and she encouraged me to book an appointment with my doctor to talk about anxiety medication, but it was just nice to talk to someone without fear of judgement. She gave me some practical tools to use daily to get rid of negative thoughts and calm myself, as well as talking with my doctor.
You have taken a remarkable step. Congratulation, it takes alot of courage to ask for help.
Post # 8
From my personal experience it is important to find a therapist who really respects you and ‘fits’ your lifestyle. I have been to a therapist who was blatantly disrespectful to me. On the contrary, I have experienced therapy sessions with an amazing care-giver who was open, non-judgmental and focused on really allowing me to explore my situation. The right person makes all the difference!
Have an open mind but trust your gut feeling. Stand your ground and find another care-giver if needed.
Post # 9
Hi! I can answer things from the therapist’s side. While each therapist is different, in general a first session will involve getting to know what is currently going on in your life that is causing you difficulty, what that feels like for you, how long it’s been happening, that sort of thing. Also, your therapist will probably discuss with you what sorts of “goals” you might have for your treatment – basically, just what you would want to be different after you are done with therapy. They might also want to know a bit about your background, your family relationships, any history of anxiety, depression, or other disorders, and if you have any support systems in your life right now. Like a PP mentioned, this is a great opportunity to get a “feel” for the therapist to see if you like the person, if you feel comfortable with them, and if think that you could work together to get you feeling better. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your therapist – you should feel like you can trust them.
Also, a LPC stands for “Licensed Professional Counselor.” This means the therapist has a master’s degree in a counseling field and is licensed to practice. They are not a doctor, and also would not be prescribing you medication. However, they may talk to you about anxiety meds and discuss how they may be beneficial with you, or offer you a referral to a doctor to discuss medication.
Good luck, and good for you for taking this step! Hope it goes well. 🙂
Post # 10
Okay, thanks so much for the responses. I googled, but there were some scary things out there. I definitely need real-person perspective.
I really like the LPC over the phone – his voice alone is very soothing. I have an afternoon appointment and thankfully can take the rest of the day off if I want/need to…I am looking forward to being able to speak freely without judgement. Pride is my biggest flaw – I am always worried about what others think, if I said the right thing, etc. Hopefully this therapy will help knock me down a few pegs :). I’m definitely optomistic about this, which is probably a good attitude to have!
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Be open and honest, hiding information is only going to make the process take longer. A big part of therapy is for you to realize what your triggers are and whether you can avoid them and how to deal with the ones you can’t avoid. It’s all about you and you taking the steps towards dealing with your anxiety.
I was diagnosed with anxiety as a small child and it has taken a long time to recognize my triggers and learn how to calm myself down and when to realize it’s time for some extra help in the form of an anti-anxiety medication. I have panic attacks about once a month and anxiety almost every day but a majority of it I am able to talk myself through or avoid altogether by recognizing my triggers and avoiding them.
Don’t worry about what your therapist thinks about you, he is there to help you (and he has most likely heard much crazier stuff.) Make sure you develop good rapport by being able to trust and feel safe around your therapist. If you don’t, do not be afraid to ask for another therapist to be assigned to your case.
Post # 12
I first started going to a therapist for anxiety and depression about a year ago. On my first visit, she kind of just asked some basic questions to get to know me. She asked what was going on in my life at the moment, about my family life, about school, and asked me why I was coming in. She also asked about any history of anxiety/depression in my family and thigns like that. There was nothing intense about the first appointment. It was basically getting to know the therapist and seeing if she was the right one for me. If you don’t like this therapist, you can always find another one. It’s important to find the right one!
I had been suffering from severe anxiety and depression for YEARS, and at first, I was reluctant to go to a therapist to begin with because I’m not good at talking to people or expressing my feelings, but I just convinced myself that what the therapist thinks doesn’t matter and that this is her job, and she has probably heard crazier things. The first couple of appointments, I was mostly silent because I found it so difficult to express my emotions/feelings because I felt that nothing I said made sense, but I just forced myself to try to explain and talk about things and it worked out great. Now I look forward to my appointments. Honesty is also really important…lying or hiding information won’t help at all and you’ll just be wasting your time.
I was also afraid to be on pills forever and actually refused to try them at first, but once I gave them a try and we found the right mecidine and dosage, everything was SO much better. It was the best decision of my life. However, if you don’t want to take pills, you can ask about other ways to deal with your anxiety. Don’t feel like you have to take medicine. I hope everything goes well for you! 🙂