Considering therapy but having doubts?
Common worries about having therapy
*These are my views based on my experiences of working with clients as a Psychologist/Clinical Hypnotherapist; this is how I work.
Worries about what it will involve
The unknown will often cause us to worry. Read up on your chosen therapist; look at their website, their approach and don’t be afraid to ask questions prior to your first session. Good therapists will understand your concerns and will be willing to address these with you; they will focus on ensuring that you feel safe and will work towards developing a safe, trusting relationship.
You may have some concerns about not being in control. The therapist will be focused on your goals; if you’re unsure what you want to achieve, the therapist will help you to think this through, however, this is not the same as deciding for you what your goal for the therapy is.
Some people worry that they may become dependent on their therapist. Good therapy, in my view, means that the therapist should work with you to facilitate your coping skills and strategies so that as soon as you are able, therapy will terminate. You might view a therapist as a crutch; you may use a crutch when you have a broken leg and whilst it heals, but you won’t use the crutch for ever; as soon as your leg is mended, you can set aside the crutch and walk, unaided and with confidence, much in the same way that you should leave therapy.
You may worry about having to talk about your past. Ultimately, whether you do or not is your choice. However, it is important to understand the particular approach of the therapist you choose; some approaches focus more on past experiences than others. Many evidence based therapies often focus more on the present, and references to the past are focused on the changes you wish to make rather than revisiting past experiences for their own sake or purely to develop understanding (however, developing a greater understanding of yourself can be a positive goal for therapy). What you wish to disclose or talk about is entirely your decision, it is perfectly fine to move the therapy at the rate that you are comfortable with.
Good therapists will listen to you and develop a collaborative, trusting relationship where you feel safe to voice your concerns
Are you worried that you might feel bad/worse about your problems? Initially, you may indeed feel a little worse about the issues you are addressing during therapy; this is because learning about ourselves, and moving towards changes can be a little bit scary sometimes. However, your therapist understands this and will work with you to support you through this initial stage to move you forward towards being more confident with the changes you wish to make, and from this you will feel more empowered and in control and those initial feelings will dissipate.
You might worry that your therapist will think you are crazy. Rest assured that your therapist is not there to judge you, but to listen to you, develop an understanding of you and support you to make the changes you wish to make. Often, your therapist will have heard similar stories before and won’t be fazed by yours.
Perhaps you are worried what other people will think. Seeking help for our emotional and mental health can feel like a big step. We often would not hesitate to seek help if we develop a rash or develop physical problems. It is just as important to take care of ourselves emotionally and mentally.
Tips to reduce worries about your appointment
· Ask your therapist what to expect during the first appointment; sometimes this is outlined on their website
· Be open and honest. Understand that you will be accepted for you and that your openness will pave the way for developing a positive relationship with your therapist so that they can better help you
· Remember that you can set the pace of the therapy; only when you are ready
· Know that it is perfectly natural to be nervous, particularly for the first appointment
· Know that your therapist is there to help you and support you, not to make judgements about you
· Remind yourself that your emotional and mental well being is just as important as your physical health
· Understand that what you think about you isn’t necessarily what your therapist will think about you; their focus will be on helping you, not judging you
· The relationship between you and your therapist is collaborative; you are working together to address issues, it is not something that is done ‘to’ you
· Remind yourself of what it is that you want to achieve
· Congratulate yourself that by making the appointment, you have started to make a positive step towards change.