So you have taken that big step and have booked your first session with a mental health therapist. The good news is you are well on your way to recovery and just by making that first appointment means you are ready for that journey to begin. The bad news is there will be things that might happen that you will have no control over. While other people might avoid telling you these things I am happy to tell you if it means you are better prepared. Here are ten things you might well experience when you start going to mental health therapy…
Personally, I have been going to a mental health therapist for a long time now and even now I am extremely nervous about going. I wonder what they might say and I wonder what I might say. Things go over and over in your mind the night before and it’s almost impossible not to whip yourself up about going. The good news is this is completely natural and totally understandable. The best advice I can give you is to make a list of the things you would like to talk about or tackle, even if they are long-term goals. This list will give you something grounded to focus on rather than the unknown.
While this might not happen to everyone it is something to consider. Transference is when you start to fall in love with your therapist and it’s easily understandable. Your therapist is kind and understanding so if you are in a bad place you will most likely suffer from transference regardless of your own sex of the sex of your therapist. While it is easier said than done it is best to talk this over with your therapist and tell them how you feel. Trust me when I say they will not be shocked as they probably see it happening a lot with many other clients.
Make no mistake about it, most people will cry a LOT when they are with their therapist. Maybe it is the “safe place” going to therapy offers or the soft tone your therapist speaks in. Whatever the reason it is almost impossible not to break down in tears and it is openly encouraged. Sometimes a good cry is all you need to help you make it through the week.
A Long Journey
If you think going to one or two therapy sessions will see you put on the right path you are sadly mistaken. Sometimes it can take months, sometimes it can take years and make no mistake about it sometimes it can take a lifetime of undoing the mental damage that has been done to you. If you are in a rush to “get better” try a magical genie or a Unicorn because finding one of those is just about the only chance you have of a super quick turn around. If you have suffered mental health issues for years why would you think it will only take a few hours to sort out?
This is something a lot of people suffer with but I have not found anyone willing to say it might happen. You should always take a bottle of drink with you when you go to therapy, especially at the start as you will be doing most the talking. Most therapists will have kind enough to supply a glass of water near you already, but even if you don’t have a glass near you nor brought your own just ask for a glass of water if you start to dry up a little.
Hard and Soft Sessions
There is no telling how hard or soft a session will be until you start to open up fully. There will be times when you will talk about things that make you feel uncomfortable and things you really don’t want to talk about, but doing so will mean you can get over it. But then there will be other times when you just talk about the things you love and the things that make you happy. These soft sessions are the best of all, but at the start, they are usually few and far between.
If there is one thing I have never really understood it is how tired and mentally exhausted you can feel after a hard session with a therapist. It can feel like you have done ten laps around the football field without moving an inch. Take my advice and make sure you have time after every session in order to rest and become a little more grounded. Most mental health therapists take 15-30 minutes before seeing the next client so imagine how much time you need!
You Will do Most The Talking
If you think you will sit there in silence and listen to your therapist speak you are in for a shock because you talking is the only way a therapist can get to know you and start to understand what your root problems are. Even if you don’t feel like talking about your problems maybe talk about what makes you happy! Talk about how you feel about going to therapy or talk about the reasons you don’t want to talk much that session. Believe me when I tell you your therapist has heard it all before.
While this is not something you would expect to happen it is something that might well happen, especially if you are in a hard session and talking about things beyond your control. There are times when you will want to shout and tell your therapist why you hate someone or something so much and that is OK. Just remember not to get angry with your therapist as they are only there to help you. They do want you to open up, but they are not there for you to shout and rant in their faces.
Unlock All Truths
This is something you might not want to do, but it is essential if you want to get the most out of every session. Even the things you have never told anyone else just let them out and let your therapist fully understand what might be causing your problems. If you are not being 100% truthful you might not be getting 100% value for money. So let those truth gates open wide and dump all your problems into your therapist lap because that is what they are there for and only once they know what they are dealing with will they be able to guide you back to full health.