People resist going to therapy. The reasons could be cultural, social, financial and most of the time the reason is anxiety. You and me and almost anyone would certainly fear going to see a mental health therapist but here are some facts that you oversee while worrying about starting a conversation with a professional.
First: for the first appointment, the therapist is as anxious as you are and sometimes a little bit more. You are hesitant and you do not know what kind of person and interaction to expect, and so is the therapist. She/He also have the responsibility to make you feel in a safe welcoming place and to make sure you know that they are worthy of your trust and that they have the needed skills to help you. So relax, you are not the only nervous person in the room.
Second : If you are thinking that it is impossible for you to open up about your conflicts and your problems to a complete stranger, know that you are totally right. You certainly aren’t expected to start sharing the depth of your soul in the first hour of therapy. Your therapist is a professional and won’t be expecting this. A well trained and experienced therapist will know that therapy will in fact start few sessions after or maybe few weeks after your first meeting. You will be given time to warm up to your therapist and to the clinic and will not be pressured into sharing anything unless you are ready for it.
Third: The first sessions of therapy are for your therapist to gather enough history information about you and for you to learn more about your therapist’s approach and attitude. You are both “interviewing” each other and your therapist is aware of this. You have the right to drop out of therapy at any time if you do not feel comfortable with your therapist, for any reason.Therapy is stopped of course following a series of courteous and ethical steps from both sides.
Fourth: my advice to you is to research a bit the different schools and approaches in Psychotherapy so you would know which one would be more compatible with your personality, your expectations and your needs. If you know someone in the field, ask them for an advice or for a referral. Know that not any type of psychotherapy will be efficient. Psychotherapists follow different schools and use different techniques. The same thing you’re used to in medical doctors. You wouldn’t consult a cardiologist for a broken hip, would you? Know what therapy you’re going for to avoid spending your precious efforts and money on inefficient results.
At last, know that therapy aims to change brain habits and this surely doesn’t happen overnight. It is a partial or a complete rewiring of the brain that takes time, repetition, exercise, full engagement and pain. Why pain? because no change has ever happened in a human life without pain. You will have to relive the pain in order to release it and become free of its burden.