Find the right therapist for your concern:
It’s important to know that even the best therapists aren’t a good match for every client! It’s not uncommon to hear people report “therapy doesn’t work for me” but usually when you dig a little deeper the therapist just wasn’t a good match. It’s highly recommended that you interview several therapists prior to embarking on your therapeutic journey. You’ll share time and space and much of your history and lived experiences with your therapist – you need to feel comfortable, safe and supported.
Here are a few things you might want to check in on prior to booking your initial counselling session:
- What type of clients do you typically work with?
- Do you use a specific type of therapy or approach?
- Do you use the same approach with every client or at every visit?
Decide what you want out of the process and be ready to work!:
While you are reaching out for support, it’s important to acknowledge that the work will really be yours to do. You can’t “fix” a lifetime of issues in 60 minutes (even weekly). We all spend WAY more time outside the counsellors office than we do sitting across from a counsellor and so – we must commit to the work. Commit to integrating, practicing and failing forward as you learn and lean into a new way of being.
Don’t hold back. Your therapist or counsellor is not here to judge you. None of us is better than the other and this includes your care provider! Many assume that therapists and counsellors must “have it all together” because of their training but we’re all just humans doing our best.
Bring all of yourself to therapy:
On the note of honesty, let’s hit on who you show up as. Part of this honesty is the willingness to bring your whole self to the office. None of us are only “one thing.” Many of us are mothers, wifes, professionals, daughters, sisters etc…Others are men in uniform, husband, brother etc…For most of us – the list of roles we fill in any given day is long. It can feel like we need to be all things to all people and sometimes people feel they must show up as “the perfect therapy client” when they are in the office. It’s normal to fall into roles in the office but just know that it’s okay to show up as everything you are and everything you aren’t and that your therapist isn’t expecting you to be any particular way when you arrive. Just be you – that’s all we ask – although we know figuring out exactly what that means can be challenging in a world that has so many daily demands for us.
Make no mistake, therapy can be work! Oftentimes you’re there to bring up issues that you’ve struggled to move through in your own mind and need another set of trained ears to guide you through the process. That process takes time and it takes energy. You may not be able to take action on all the strides, realizations and connections you draw in your time with your counsellor or therapist at the time of the appointment. For that reason, consider taking notes. No one has to read them besides yourself and they may help you maximize your therapeutic experience.