Television has been a great hindrance and advocate for therapy but overall it is hardly ever portrayed as it really is. Look at my couch….
There isn’t even room for you to lay down! Although, I have learned to take excellent naps on it. So, what does therapy really look like in here?
From my point of view as a therapist, it is my job to make sure you are treated with respect from the first point of contact. Generally coming to therapy starts with either a phone call or clicking on a website to book an appointment. At our offices, our wonderful office manager, John Morris, generally answers the phone. This conversation is about making sure you have found the best place for you, so John asks some questions about what you are dealing with and then appropriately matches you with a therapist. Sometimes that means giving a referral to a therapist outside our clinic.
The first appointment
Once you have reach out and booked an appointment, then comes the scary part…showing up for the first one. Lots of times people tell them they think about cancelling because they are unsure what to expect. The first appointment is different from any of the other appointments because it is where the therapist learns about you. In my 10+ years providing therapy, it has been clear that the only expert on you is you. Therefore, I take time during the first session to learn as much as possible about the whole you, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically etc. so that I can have an understanding of what the good things in your life are and what the problems are so that I can effectively make a treatment plan to help you get to the life you want.
The first session can seem a little like an interview because it is a lot of questions. And if I could figure out a way to magically hook your brain up to mine so I could understand everything without the questions, I would. As therapists, we all try to make it as easy as possible because we know you’re nervous. You’re meeting us for the first time and we’re asking about your life, who wouldn’t be nervous? Personally, I look at that initial session as a precious gift from you which should be respected and appreciated.
Generally, people need more than one session but how many sessions depends on you and what you are dealing with. Sometimes people just need a couple to get back on track and other times people need a longer amount of time to heal. These subsequent sessions generally feel like a conversation. We talk about what is affecting you and why it is affecting you. Through utilizing effective therapeutic techniques, your therapist will teach you new ways to deal with life.
This is the best part of my job, when you have reached your goal and are healthy. It is so amazing to help people go from misery to happiness. When you are ready, we end our time together. Often people will continue to send me notes of how they are doing especially when they have reached milestones in their life and I get to continue celebrating with them.
I hope this helps give you a little insight into therapy. If you would like to find out for yourself, it would be my pleasure to help you.
Trish Pauls, MA RP