- Psychotherapy represents an investment of time, money, and emotional energy, but the rewards can be life-changing.
- “Good therapy” is a collaborative experience between therapist and patient. But not all therapy is the same.
- There are several things a patient can do to get the most from the therapeutic experience; here are some suggestions from our fellow therapists.
Taking the leap to start therapy can be intimidating and overwhelming. There are a lot of unknowns for potential patients. “The bravest thing you could do was call to make this appointment or walk through our door, there is nowhere to go but up from here.” Many people are feeling the mental and emotional fatigue that the last year or two put on them. We encourage everyone to seek the help they deserve, and we understand that the first step can be scary.
Here are a few things therapists wish clients knew before they started therapy:
- It’s all aboutcollaboration. “It’s not ‘done to me’ but ‘done with me.” A collaborative treatment experience is key to feeling safe and motivated in therapy. It is important that patients realize therapists don’t ‘fix’ you, they work with you to have the insights that hopefully bring about change.
- The right fit matters.Therapy is personal, unique, and intimate, you have to find the right fit for you. It is important to feel comfortable with your therapist, if you are unable to then it might be time to look for a different therapist.
- Recognizing the process is important.Starting therapy is the start of a journey. The change does not happen overnight, it’s a process. Most therapy relies on the client doing work outside of the session whether that is engaging in certain behavioural activation, utilizing new coping, or using insight to better understand your response to a situation. “Therapy starts the car, but you drive.”
- Honesty and sharing are key. You are the expert in you, and therapist can only know, understand, and help what is shared with the therapist.
- All emotions are welcome.Crying is not a weakness, and anger is a normal and acceptable emotion. Do not feel the need to hide, sugar coat, or deny your natural emotions in therapy. Exploring and understanding them is part of the process. Therapists do not judge you because you feel.
- “Fixing” is not the goal.Again, therapist are not here to “fix” anything. Therapists are helpers, not fixers.” They are here to partner with you. The goal is more akin to growth than “fixing.” They want to help you be the best you, not a different you.
- Therapy is a beautiful and wonderful journey that has impacted the lives of so many. If you are considering starting therapy, we know that a step into the unknown can be difficult. Hopefully, these six points help to make you feel more comfortable doing so. The good news is, once you step into the therapy session you are no longer alone in sorting through your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours—you then have someone to help you. All therapists recognize that it is a privilege to be able to partner with you, one that they do not take lightly.