Six Things To Expect During Therapy Session
In movies and TV shows, we see characters lay down on an oversized chaise or sofa in their therapist’s office. While they are reflecting on their week and expressing their feelings, their therapist is jotting down copious notes. From watching this on TV, therapy seems relaxed and carefree. However, that is not always the case. Often it’s difficult to know what to expect during therapy when you don’t know the truth.
Therapy sessions can range from comfortable to intense or vice versa, which all depends on what you are discussing with your therapist. Specific therapy topics are challenging to discuss, and it takes time to work through those topics. While working through your issues, you may experience intense emotions, and it can be overwhelming for some. So, therapy is not always as pretty and chic as how the media portrays it. Expressing your feelings and thoughts regarding different topics can be extremely tough. It is okay if it’s difficult for you because it means that you are making progress and pressing through the hard issues.
6 Things To Expect During Therapy
So, you set up your first therapy appointment, and now you don’t know how to go about it or what to expect during your sessions. Here’s a list of what to expect and how to make the most out of your healing journey:
Be Willing To Be Vulnerable
You should view your therapist’s office as a safe space, and within that space, you should be vulnerable. Your counselor may be the only person you can be vulnerable with and not face judgment. It may take some time for you to open up and be vulnerable. Do not let that hold you back from progressing and healing.
Expect To Be Uncomfortable
It is normal to feel anxious or nervous in your sessions, especially your first session. You may even cry in your sessions, and that is okay. Within therapy, you can take off your cape, and you do not have to be the “strong black woman” while you are there. You can cry, purge, release, or whatever else.
You Can’t Hide It And Expect To Heal
Some of us have experienced traumatic situations that we vowed never to talk or think about again. Unfortunately, when we decide to keep those experiences to ourselves, we do not allow ourselves to heal. I believe that we keep those experiences to ourselves because we don’t want to experience the pain that is associated with the experience. Also, the fear of judgment may cause us to keep those things bottled up and tucked away. Your therapist is more than likely going to be the only person that you can share your secrets to and not fear that he or she will spill the beans.
You May Receive A Diagnosis
While attending therapy, you may receive a diagnosis. After your counselor gives you a diagnosis, you may experience different emotions, which are normal. Be sure to let your therapist know how you are processing the diagnosis. Also, ask questions about your diagnosis and inform them about your fears, thoughts, and emotions surrounding it. All emotions are not bad, either. You may feel a sense of relief after receiving a diagnosis. However you process the diagnosis, know that there is hope, and you can receive treatment.
Expect To Leave Your Sessions With Homework
Depending on the type of treatment you receive, your therapist may assign you homework assignments. Usually, therapists will assign homework if they are using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to treat their patients. These assignments will be a part of your treatment and to help you institute new techniques within your personal life. The purpose of the assignments is to help you develop new skills and coping strategies. If you commit to completing the assignments, then expect to see positive results. The treatment will not work if you do not put in the work to better yourself.
It’s Okay If Your Therapist Is Not A Good Fit For You
At the beginning of your sessions, you and your therapist will focus on building a rapport. You will both evaluate whether they are a good fit for you or not. If you are not making much progress with the therapist, then it is okay to move forward with someone else. A therapist may not be a good fit for you if they don’t specialize in your diagnosis, they break confidentiality, act in unethical ways, or overshare. When you discover that it is not a good fit, inform your therapist right away. A great therapist will refer you to other therapists who are equipped to help you. Furthermore, do not allow the search for a therapist to cause you to stop seeking professional help.
Therapy Isn’t Pretty Or Chic
Attending therapy and doing the work to heal is hard, but it will be worth it. Therapy is not pretty and chic, but it can be an integral part of your powerful healing journey. Even in those difficult moments, keep showing up for yourself. Think of therapy as an act of self-care. Make sure to prioritize your mental health. It is not something that you can place on your to-do list and get to it whenever. You have to be mentally well, just as you are physically well. So continue to take care of you, showing up for yourself, and completing the work to be successful at therapy. You may not know what to expect during therapy, but it’s important to take the steps into the unknown. You’re worth it.
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