If you have decided to begin therapy you may be feeling several different things: excitement, nervousness, anxiety, skepticism, or relief. Often people say that they feel both excited and nervous about beginning therapy, and this is totally normal.
Where Do I Start?
If you haven't found a therapist to work with but you are interested in starting therapy you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by trying to choose the type of therapy approach that would be best suited to your needs. You will want to make sure you feel comfortable with the therapist that you'll be working with (this is super important for your success). Psychologytoday.com is a great resource for finding a therapist as you can add filters and search for therapists near your location. Many therapists also offer complimentary consultations via phone or video and these are meant to be an opportunity to ask questions and determine if you jive with that therapist.
What Will My First Therapy Session Be Like?
If you have found a therapist to work with, you can expect the first session to be a bit more formal. The first session is dedicated to reviewing informed consent (benefits and risks of therapy, confidentiality, and other info), as well as to determine goals, share information, and ask any questions you may have.
So you've picked a therapist and had your first session. You might be thinking, now what? Common questions people have when straying their therapy journey are, when can I expect to feel better or notice changes? How do I know if I'm doing therapy right? Should I continue if I do feel better?
The answer to these questions is dependent on each person. One important thing to keep in mind as you begin this journey is that therapy can be hard. Like, really hard. While you may experience some relief in sharing your story with someone who you trust and who is non-judgemental, talking about your feelings and issues can cause you to feel vulnerable, anxious, angry, and many other feelings. This may be even more true if you have experienced past traumas.
This is completely normal and your therapist will work with you to ensure that you feel safe while also encouraging you to work on your individual goals and cope with the uncomfortable aspects of the therapy process.
How Long Should I Continue Therapy?
As for how long you can expect to be in therapy, it depends on your unique goals and there isn't any specific time frame. Many factors can influence the length of your therapy journey including your specific goals, your lifestyle, mental health conditions, and finances to name a few.
What Can I Expect After I Start Therapy?
Some changes you might notice as you begin your therapy journey are increased self-awareness, improved coping, improved ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries, increased mood and sleep, more fulfilling relationships, better self-esteem, and reduced anxiety. You may notice other changes depending on many factors such as past and present mental health conditions.
If you've been in therapy for a while and aren't noticing the changes you were hoping for, you can bring up your concerns with your therapist and determine if changing approaches or techniques may lead to you experiencing the changes you were looking for. Sometimes it is necessary to change therapists if a different approach is needed, if you've reached a therapeutic plateau, or if a new issue arises that is outside of your therapist's training.
You might be seeking therapy for yourself, or you could be seeking therapy with your spouse or partner, for your child, or for you and your family. While much of the above information applies to individual, family, or couples therapy, scheduling a consultation is a great way to help you determine what approach you need if you have not already identified these. You can contact the admin team at Balance at (587) 985-3132 to schedule a consultation or complete our therapist matching quiz to see which therapist would be best suited to your specific needs.
About Balance Psychological Services
Balance Psychological Services is a psychological private practice aimed toward healing, growth, and balance. Our mission is to ensure that every person who walks through our doors feels seen and accepted for exactly who they are, no matter the circumstances they are facing. With offices conveniently located in Stony Plain, Edmonton, and Beaumont, we are here and ready to help you find your balance.
Information provided through Balance Psychological Services' blog posts is meant for educational purposes only. This is NOT medical or mental health advice. If you are seeking mental health advice, please contact us directly at (587) 985-3132.