You may be starting therapy for the first time, or you have been before and didn’t find it as helpful as you had hoped. We know that starting therapy can be daunting and at Select Psychology we want you to feel prepared. We have come up with a guide that we hope will answer some of your concerns. This will help you to make the most out of your therapy journey.
What can I expect from my first appointment?
The first appointment can feel a bit business like to begin with. There will be forms to fill in about confidentiality and sharing information. However this is a good time to share any concerns you may have about your privacy.
These conversations also act as the first step into building a relationship with your therapist. As you begin to put trust in them you establish the boundaries of your relationship with each other.
You will have a conversation with your therapist about your expectations of therapy and what your therapist can offer you in terms of meeting your needs. You won’t have to talk about things you don’t feel comfortable with. Your therapist will work with you at a pace you feel comfortable with.
What can I do to prepare for my appointments?
It is a good idea to start a journal so that you have some real life, in the moment experiences to reflect on in your appointments.
Whilst the appointments can feel like the most important part of therapy, in reality they account for a tiny part of your day to day life. Outside of your session is where the real change needs to happen. It is important that what you talk about in your appointment is used outside of this time. You can then take your experiences to your next appointment. Consider what worked and what was difficult, and use this information to guide your therapy.
Will everything I talk about be confidential?
Everything that you talk about in your therapy sessions will be confidential. You will have to give your consent if you would like any information shared with other professionals, such as your GP, or family members.
The exception to this is if, at any point in therapy, it becomes apparent that either yourself or someone else is at risk. This may be due to concerns that you are wanting to harm yourself or others, or it maybe that you or someone associated to you is at risk from harm from, for example domestic violence, abuse or neglect.
In these cases your therapist will be legally obliged to report this risk to the relevant professionals.
What if I feel that I am not making progress?
Change is difficult. It is normal to have periods of time during therapy where you feel that you are not making progress. The important thing is to be honest with your therapist. Having a conversation about what is holding you back can be an important part of overcoming the barriers to change.
However, in there are rare times when it is simply that your therapist is not a good match for you. We are all human and are able to make bonds with some people better than others. It does not mean that you have failed. Sometimes a new start and a fresh pair of eyes can kick start therapy and help you move on.
How will I know when it is time to end therapy?
At the beginning of therapy you will have sat with your therapist and worked out what you want to change over the course of therapy. This may be something like…
‘I want to be able to get to the shops without feeling like I need to run back home.’
or it might be…
‘I want to be able to manage my emotions better and not get so overwhelmed by them’.
It will be different for everyone. A good therapist will use this information over the course of therapy to reflect upon the progress that you are making and ensure that you are on the right track.
You can use this information to identify when you have reached your goal and feel able to end your relationship with your therapist.
Thinking about therapy?
If you are considering therapy then you can book a free consultation using our online calendar.
We have a clinical pathways co-ordinator team that will conduct a telephone consultation with you to help you understand if therapy is right for you, answer any questions you have and if you would like to go ahead, match you with the best therapist for you.
You can find further information about what happens during therapy at Mind.org