Post # 1
Soooo after many sleepless nights recently due to anxiety caused by my controlling family, I finally decided I need some help and booked an appointment with a therapist–my first session is today. I have written other posts about the sitch with my fam: in a nutshell, they are very conservative and religious, Fiance and I are not, but I feel massive guilt and anxiety whenever I go against them, to the point that it is causing me insomnia and putting stress on my relationship with Fiance.
Anyway, I am 30 yrs old and have never been to therapy before and have no idea what to expect. I’m kinda nervous. Any bees out there in therapy who want to offer some tips or share your experience? Like how do I even begin to tell a total stranger all the relevant history with my family, my Fiance, etc.?
Post # 2
Just be honest and understand that your therapist will get to know you and help you over time–it’s often not a quick fix. Though–sometimes just saying things out loud to someone outside the situation can help.
If after a few sessions you feel that you and your therapist don’t click don’t hesitate to seek out a different therapist–they are individuals also and the right match/approach is important.
Post # 3
Any therapist worth their salt will ease you into therapy. They won’t just start off staring at you and say “Tell me your deepest darkest secret!” They’ll build a relationship with you just like you build a friendship with someone else. You’ll start off with shallow things like what you do for a living, etc and move into deeper emotional issues like why you’re there.
Of course PP is right. There are many disciplines in psychology and you want to make sure your therapist has a method that works for you. If you ever feel uncomfortable with the way they talk to you or ask questions then feel free to try someone else with whom you might have a better fit. The person will not be offended. Turnover rates in therapy are sky high for a lot of reasons and it will be normal for them to see a few clients a few times and never again.
I’m studying to be a therapist btw! =)
ETA: Of course therapy won’t always be “comfortable” or else there would be no growth. But you should have an ease and trust in your therapist. That’s what I meant by making sure you’re comfortable with them.
Post # 4
I saw a therapist for a few years, and it was the best decision of my life. Some days I went into it excited about being able to share and vent. Some days I was scared and “totally over it.” Some days I left feeling worse than when I got there. There were A LOT of tears. It’s not always an easy process, but if you put in the work, it’s totally worth it. I am in a MUCH better place than when I started. It forced me to recognize and acknowledge parts of myself I wanted to keep pushed down and hidden.
I hope you find it cathartic and relieving. Best of luck!
Post # 5
A good therapist will likely start with your history and will be able to direct you as to what information to share. My advice is if you don’t feel comfortable or a good match with your therapist then move on to someone new. I have had good therapist and bad therapist and its important that you spend your money and time wisely with someone who really works for you.
Post # 6
I know how nervewracking it can be, but a good therapist will make you feel at ease. Don’t hesitate to ask the therapist what his/her therapeutic approach is, and what his/her training and qualifications are. If your country has a regulatory board, ensure that they have received the necessary certification.
Ultimately, you want to feel comfortable with this person. If you don’t, do not hesitate to break off the relationship and seek another therapist. As other bees have stated, turnover is high in therapy. Therapy works on trust and if you don’t trust the person you’re interacting with, you can’t grow and push your boundaries because you don’t feel safe.
Good luck with everything.
Post # 7
All I will tell you is to be as honest with the therapist as humanly possible. The most frustrating thing is to go and get help from someone who might not prove to be much help due to misinformation. Relax and know that after it all, you will feel better. Good luck!
Post # 8
My therapist began our first session by asking me some background questions (What do you do for a living, how many siblings do you have, are you religious, etc.) and then she asked me what issues I wanted to work on and what my goals for therapy were. She was always very attentive and validating and was never like, “I know you said you felt this way but this is what you were REALLY feeling.” She really was just like a good friend that I paid to vent to lol
Post # 9
Like the other bees have said, make sure you end up sticking with a therapist that you feel you can work with. Many offer the initial session free to see how you gel. Don’t be scared about asking them questions too (like how much experience they have with your particular set of issues etc). I’ve had three different therapists. I found the first very condescending. The second was good but she went off on maternity leave. I tried to take a break but stuff came up so I found my current therapist and she’s brilliant.
Other thoughts: some days you wont have something to say, but that’s okay. Your therapist will prompt you. Some of those sessions have ended up being my most productive ones.
You may feel exhausted after a session. This is very common and perfectly normal. It’s tiring work being in therapy. Be easy with yourself and look after yourself: eat right, sleep well, exercise, and give yourself things you like (manicures, chocolate, baths or whatever).
It is also hard work and you have to be active with it. Your therapist may make suggestions of things to do or books to read. I find it immensely helpful to read around the subject and to ask questions and to keep a journal.
It is entirely up to you if you discuss what you talk abut in therapy with anyone else. My SO is actively interested but sometimes I need to not consciously think about what I just dealt with in therapy while my subconscious processes it in its own time. Invariably a few days later I will then feel I want to process it out loud with him. If you do, that’s great, And if you don’t that’s great too.
It takes time, but I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
Good luck! You’re being vey brave making this move.
Post # 10
tiffanybruiser: You can’t cover it all in a day, and don’t expect to. He or she will get your life’s story in many sessions. But honestly, wait for them to ask the questions and then answer accordingly. If they wait for you to start talking, just talk about the problem that’s weighing on you the most.
I hope you’re going to someone who does cognitive behavioral therapy…
And also… if your therapist bullies you or interrupts you when you speak, you have every right to tell them what they’re doing that bothers you, and to stop going to them if they persist. I had to do that with my last one, and now I’m therapist-less. She was the worst. I miss the one I had at college. She was the one who did CBT with me, and it helped immensely.
Post # 11
Just turn up. Don’t over think it. The rest will take care of itself and you’ll feel much better after talking to a skilled profes.
Post # 12
Thanks for all the feedback bees!
Had my first session last night. It was……..ok. My therapist mostly just asked questions and I explained the issue that was troubling me the most at the moment and then gave tons of back info. She asked questions, but I definitely did the bulk of the talking. She didn’t really have any advice or groundbreaking insights, but I guess that’s normal in a first session. I suppose she wants to get a full feel for the situation first. I don’t really feel any better about things after our first meeting, but I am going to stick with it for now (seeing her again in 2 weeks).
Post # 13
tiffanybruiser: that’s totally normal for a first session. in fact, your first several appointments you might feel are a bit one-sided. you just show up, talk, and don’t really hear much back from your therapist. don’t get discouraged!
however, if after several sessions (like 3-4 sessions), you’re not feeling it, switch therapists!!! this is something i wish i realized more upfront. not every therapist is the same, or has the same tools in their toolbox, so to speak. finding the right therapist is a lot like meeting the right romantic partner – you need to find the right fit. So don’t be worried to “shop around” for a bit. it’s not uncommon to go through 3, 5, or more therapists before finding one you click with.
Post # 14
tiffanybruiser: First off, good for you to ask for help. There is nothing worse than trying to keep everything bottled up and letting it keep you from being healthy.
My advice, and I just had our third therapy session with my Fiance because we are at a lost with his parents, is you get out of it what you put into it. You have to be honest but that might take a couple of sessions until you feel comfortable really saying what you feel and think.
Like another PP said, a good therapist will ease you into it. But ultimately, they can not help you if you don’t give them all the necessary information and that is being very blunt sometimes, like admitting to your self what is in your head. For example (and this is just an example), I feel insecure around my parents and sometimes have times where I can’t express what I am really feeling about their view points. Sometimes, I feel like like they are attacking me…etc. etc.
I said something in front of my Fiance that I had never said before, Fiance was in schock that I felt that way, the therpist was amazing in breaking down what I said and Fiance admitted he felt a very similar thing but didn’t know if it was ok to say so.
So remember you get out of it what you put into it and I hope all goes well for you.
Post # 15
tiffanybruiser: It is really great that you are getting help. Practically everyone I know sees a therapist (some even see 2!) and so it’s NBD where I am, but I recognize that for a lot of people, there’s still a lot of stigma involved.
To echo PP, therapy is indeed a two-way street, so the more honest you are with yourself and with the therapist, the better. Remember that the therapist may challenge you at some times, but their role is to help you, not judge you.
The other thing to remember is that it may take some time to find the right therapist for you. It is okay if you are not liking this therapist or if something about the way you are relating to them doesn’t feel right–and if that is the case, PLEASE please please tell them on the spot and ask them for a referral to someone else. Believe me, my sister is a psychologist and as professionals, they know that their style isn’t going to work for every patient and they know not to take it personally if a patient feels they need a different approach. I’m saying this because so many patients, especially women, feel bad about switching and therefore don’t do it, but you have to treat it like any other professional relationship: if you were looking for a decorator and you were vetting 4 different ones, you wouldn’t have a problem dismissing the ones that just didn’t get your style, right? This is the same thing, even though its’ your highly personal inner-life. No trained therapist is going to be offended if you ask to see someone else, so definitely take advantage of that and ask for a referral if you’re sure it’s not a good fit. If you’re unsure, it’s fine to feel them out a few more sessions.
As you’ve discovered, a first session really is a little more informative and less “therap-y,” but one thing to remember overall is that not every session is going to end with you feeling better. Feeling frustrated, angry, confused after a therapy session is not unusual (I wouldn’t stay with the same therapist if I felt that way after EVERY session, but yes, it does happen sometimes), and the groundbreaking epiphanies are somewhat rare. What’s more than likely the case (at least for me) is that it’s kind of more like…piano practice. Meaning, I’ll come in with an issue and the therapist will encourage me to try some sort of coping mechanism or different practice in my life and then leave it up to me to try it out. Then I come back and we go over how it’s going. That’s not ALL styles of therapy, of course, and there is a portion of her just sort of listening and offering an outside opinion, but some people are surprised by this more contrived/perfunctory feeling of therapy and I wanted to say it’s usually a normal part of the process.