5 Truths you MUST know before Starting Therapy
Starting any kind of therapy is daunting- trust me I have been on the therapy train too many times to count.
You might be feeling slightly apprehensive, a tad bit defensive and very very anxious. That is completely normal! You are about to embark on a journey, where you need to talk to a stranger about your deepest secrets, insecurities and how they make you feel. It's not easy.
The truth that therapy is not easy would have been point number 1, but I have second-guessed that anyone reading this would already have a roundabout idea that going into therapy will not be a walk in the park.
Therefore, I have pulled out 5 truths that I wanted to make you aware of before you step foot in the therapy room.
I want to share these insights because if I had an understanding of these 5 truths before I started therapy back in 2013, I feel like my journey would have been a whole lot smoother. They would have helped me to know what to expect and what my role was to be.
The 5 Truths
1. It is not the therapist's job to fix you.
Prior to going into your first therapy session, be it your first session ever or with a new therapist, you have to banish any idea that the therapist will fix your problem.
Only you can do that!
A therapist is there to guide you with their expert knowledge and facilitate your journey in creating a positive change for yourself.
2. The therapist works for YOU! You do not work for them.
On your first session (or even during further sessions) ask questions. Ask them questions in relation to providing you with the right support. Ask them about their treatment approach and basically, if they think that they can help you overcome your issue.
If you don't think that they are suitable for you or you just don't gel with the person, you are not obliged to enter or stay within a therapeutic contract.
3. You cannot just skim the surface of your issues
I found this little 4 step process in Russell Brand's book 'Mentors' and I thought it applied brilliantly to the work you undergo in therapy.
You are wounded. A traumatic event has separated you from your 'intended' life route.
You are programmed by your family, culture, schooling and conditioned to have a perspective of reality that is not currently working- hence why you are in therapy!
You change your perspective.
This change will come from the wound.
In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is that you have to be willing to dig deep and work through the darkest and most yucky wounds in which you hold in order to create change.
4. A good therapist should be able to 'hold' your issues.
A therapeutic relationship is one where you should feel at ease and feel able to trust this person with your vulnerability and sensitive information.
When I say 'hold' you issues, I mean that a good therapist will make you feel really listened to, have bucket loads of empathy and ensure you that they have your best interests at heart. They will be able to listen to whatever you tell them and not react in a harmful way. They will act as someone who can take the weight of what you have been holding and share the act of carrying it with you.
5. This is what YOU need to bring to the relationship.
I have spoken about what the therapist brings to the relationship, now I turn to you. Taken from the '12 step process', you need to bring a certain attitude in order for you to benefit from the guidance of the therapist.
This includes 3 things:
These three characteristics are key for going into therapy and I am not going to lie, are difficult to achieve.
But if you go into your therapy session, just being aware that these are key to any positive development, then you are much more likely to mould this attitude then if you were not aware of them.
I hope you found these 5 truths insightful and I very much hope that you can use them to your advantage when going into any therapeutic relationship.