For someone just starting therapy, it can be intimidating not knowing what to expect. It is something that you often see in movies and TV shows, but unfortunately it is not something that people talk about often enough. From a therapist’s point of view, I am here to fill you in on some of the things you can expect from your therapist, and hopefully answer some questions you might have.
Empathy and Support
One of the things you absolutely should expect from your therapist is empathy and support. Therapy is a safe space for you to go and openly talk to someone who will support you in your journey through self-discovery. As therapists, we are trained to have an empathetic approach. Part of our jobs include being in the moment with the client and allowing them to express thoughts and feelings that might be too difficult to express to others. If you don’t feel empathy and support from your therapist, please consider another therapist, as you absolutely deserve this as a client.
Guidance and Self-Discovery
One of the many common misconceptions about therapy is that a therapist is supposed to give you advice, tell you what to do, and fix your problems for you. In a perfect world, that would be ideal. However, that is not the job of a therapist. On the contrary, a therapist is there to assist you in your self-discovery which will allow you to work through your struggles. Every individual is different, and what might be a reasonable solution for one person, might not be the best for someone else. This is why building a good relationship is important. A therapist will learn things about your personality, observe how you solve problems, and help you identify some of your patterns and trends which will help you make decisions about how to work through and process some of your own personal struggles.
One of the best parts about going to therapy is that the therapist knows nothing about you before you begin! To us, you are a blank slate, and you are there to fill in the blanks for us. We have no previously defined judgments or opinions. Part of the reason therapy is so effective is because with this unbiased opinion, the client hopefully begins to feel comfortable sharing things about themselves without any fear of judgement.
Do not expect every therapist to be the same! Each therapist has a different approach that they use for treatment. Just because you might have tried therapy out one time and did not like it, does not mean all forms of therapy are not for you. It is okay to not click with a therapist and try it out with someone else. It is important that you find the best fit for you, that you believe will allow you to achieve the most positive changes in your life.
How often does someone meet with a therapist? This is a question that can have a lot of different answers. The answer depends on what each individual needs. Some clients meet with a therapist once a week, some do monthly check-ins, and some do 2-3 sessions a week. It is up to you and the therapist to decide the best fit for you and your treatment. Therapy is meant to give you support and teach you skills you need to work through your struggles outside of the therapy office.
Therapy is a very personal journey and one that can be different for everyone. If you feel like you could use some extra support or guidance in any part of your life, do not hesitate to reach out to a therapist and schedule a meeting with them. It could be a life changing decision!
Bianca Marcu, LPC