Get the Most Out of Therapy
Calling to make your first therapy appointment can be intimidating. As a therapist, my job begins the minute you call our therapy center and my first objective is to help you get the most out of therapy. I will act as a guide as you navigate the murky waters of finding the right therapist and will answer all of your questions about therapy. People often ask me 'what to expect in therapy', 'how can I prepare for therapy' and 'how can I get the most out of therapy?'. Let me demystify the process and help you get the most out of your therapy sessions from the beginning.
Find the Right Therapist
One of the most important aspects of effective therapy is finding the right therapist, and the right therapist will be one that you trust. In order to trust your therapist, you need to like him or her, believe in their ability to help you, feel understood by them and trust them with your most private thoughts and experiences. (For a step-by-step guide on how to find the best therapist for you, see our link at the bottom of this blog)
Bring an Open Mind About the Process!
If you have had therapy in the past, your previous experience will undoubtedly influence your experience with your new therapist. If you LOVED your previous therapist, you may look for an instant connection to your new therapist 'just like you had with your old one'. Remember - these relationships take time! You built that bond with your previous therapist over time - by sharing, reflecting, opening up. Your new therapist needs time and opportunity to build that same bond. If your previous experience wasn't good (I'm sorry you had a bad experience, by the way!), you might feel more apprehensive or skeptical that this person can be different. Tell your therapist about your concerns. Share your last experience. The more your new therapist knows about your experiences and your concerns, the more he or she can understand you and provide you with the experience you are looking for. Be open to the process of therapy with this therapist. The more you trust your therapist and accept that change happens as a process - not just from one therapy session - the more effective every session will be and the faster you will experience the change you are looking for.
If changing yourself or healing your relationship was easy, I fully believe you would have made those changes by now. Rebuilding relationships can be hard, it takes time for your therapist to help you improve your relationship.... and you'll need to exercise a little patience. When you begin therapy, remind yourself that your current situation didn't develop in a day (it has likely been in the works for a while!), nor will it change in a day. Allow yourself to be present with the process and trust your therapist to take you through the journey at a pace that feels 'fast' enough that you notice progress and 'slow' enough that you have time to make changes that are sustainable. Let your therapist know if this isn't happening for you so he or she can integrate your feedback and help you continue moving forward.
Prepare to be vulnerable (also known as: uncomfortable!)
Change isn't easy. It often isn't comfortable. If you don't feel 'nudged' to see yourself, your life or your partner differently, we aren't doing our job. My role as an emotionally focused therapist is to create a trusting relationship with you so you can talk about things in a way that hasn't been easy for you in the past. This is where insight happens! Insight creates an opening to a new understanding, which often results in more happiness and less worry/anxiety. I am comfortable with the discomfort that leads to insight. I will help you linger in those uncomfortable places long enough to learn something from them and gain new insight into yourself or your relationship. When working with the right therapist for you, this process is very rewarding and creates very strong bonds. These powerful moments also allow the process of change to occur. When working with a therapist you trust, you will also learn to be vulnerable with your partner. Brene Brown teaches us that vulnerability is the springboard to joy - especially in relationships. Being vulnerable means opening up about how you feel or what you need in an authentic way, without a guarantee of how it will unfold. We really can’t experience true joy in our relationship without it. When you trust your therapist to walk you through the process of being vulnerable with your partner, the reward is a closeness and connection to each other that isn’t otherwise possible.