Fears and Questions about Starting Therapy
If you are considering entering therapy for the first time, it is completely normal to have some fears about starting the process. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to enter therapy. Lots of questions can come to mind (which I’ve heard many times), and I’ve written a brief response to each:
What if the therapist isn’t a good fit?
This definitely happens. Sometimes there is a personality difference, sometimes the therapist uses theories and techniques that the client doesn’t really buy into. I think therapy is extremely valuable, and I think it’s worth the effort in finding a therapist that is a great match for you. Ask questions about the therapist’s approach, research to see what kind of therapy you might be interested in, fire your therapist if it’s not a good fit. I recently started offering free phone consultations to help potential clients figure out if they think I would be a good fit, but not every therapist does, and even if they don’t, that doesn’t mean you should stay away from them.
How long will this therapy process take? I’m not looking to spend the time or money on months or years of therapy.
Like many things in life, the more you put in to something, the more you get out of it. Sometimes a client will only need or want a few sessions. There is no right or wrong answer on how much you want to invest in the process. Sometimes, individuals come in who have had many traumas, abuse, emotional wounds or relationship wounds that have been accumulating over many years. It is simply not realistic to think that these can be resolved and healed in a few sessions. For those who invest more into their mental health, the results can be dramatic. I have had many clients tell me that they wish they would have gone through the process sooner. I usually respond that clients typically will start when they are truly ready. Sometimes, individuals will work on some issues, take a break for a few months or years, then re-engage in the process to continue to address other issues. I firmly believe that therapy is one of the best investments you can make in your life. Gains in emotional and relational health will directly impact your current relationships and can potentially benefit future generations.
I’m concerned that my therapist will judge me for my past or what I’m currently struggling with.
The counseling office should be a “judgment free” zone where you are allowed to say anything without fear of being judged or looked down upon. At this point in my career, it’s rare that I hear something that shocks me or that I haven’t heard before. Also, part of the process of healing shame is to get the shame out in the open. Building trust does take time. Sometimes, it can take several sessions to really want to open up. An advantage of using EMDR is that if there are shameful details of abuse or of past actions, I don’t need to hear the details in order for healing to take place. Also, regardless of how horrible or awful you may think part of your past may be, healing is always possible, I believe that any wound or any shame can be healed.
If you have questions I haven’t addressed, please leave a reply below, I’m sure someone else probably has the same question.