Anxiety and What Your First Therapy Session Looks Like
Over the course of our lives there could be many circumstances that might cause you to seek out therapy. You or someone you know may have been recommended therapy or considered going to therapy for help. But the unknowns that arise with a therapy session, especially your first one, can create additional anxiety. Just like going to your doctor or your dentist, it isn’t uncommon to have anticipatory anxiety prior to your appointment. But what a typical therapy session looks like doesn’t have to be a mystery.
Confidentiality and Building Trust are Established in A Typical Therapy Session
It can be intimidating to open up about your life and struggles to a stranger. A good therapist will make it a priority to establish a comfortable, safe and non-judgmental environment for you to open up and share with them right from the first visit. They will give you the time you need to talk and share without being interrupted or judged. A typical therapy session will start with the therapist asking you about what’s going on in your life, your concerns, your goals and areas where you may be struggling. These therapy sessions are different from just sharing with a friend or family member who may become hurt or offended by something you say. The therapist will invite you to open up and speak candidly how you feel. Expressing yourself in the way you feel you need to is important in the success of working through your problems. You and your therapist’s conversations will remain in the strictest of confidentiality. So you never need to worry about prying ears.
What Does It Look Like to Have Homework in a Therapy Session?
Therapy isn’t magic and requires full participation from you, the client, to see results. As we covered in a previous post “It’s Ok If Therapy Doesn’t Work Out”. Your therapist will sometimes give you homework to work on during the time in between sessions. This homework is every bit as important as the session itself. Your therapist’s goal is to guide you through the difficult moments in your life while teaching you tools to help deal and manage in the future. Homework is one way to facilitate this process. Some examples of homework may include keeping a journal or taking appropriate steps toward your goals. Your therapist may even ask you to share a piece of music or artwork that you are working on. Every therapist takes a different approach to homework. You, the client will have different types of homework depending on the problems they are working through.
Each Therapy Session May Look Different
We’ve all seen therapy sessions on our favorite TV shows or movies, when one of the characters seeks out therapy. I’m reminded of Kelsey Grammar in the TV show Frasier from the 90s. You may see the client lying on a couch talking about their dreams. Or you might see the therapist asking them about their childhood and how it made them feel. The reality is therapy doesn’t always look the same. Each therapist will have a different way that they approach therapy sessions. It will depend on their background, training, style, and personality. You, the client, will also shape how the session looks depending on what is being worked on. Each session will address your mental health needs and concerns in a way that is effective and unique to you. Therapy is a non-judgmental, safe space and there is no need to be afraid.
If you or someone you know is in need of support for their mental health, West Wellness would love to provide that safe space to help you navigate through the hard parts in your life.