The EveryGirl’s Guide to Therapy

My concerns over starting therapy ran the full gamut. From my anxiety about meeting new people to my (totally legit) concern that my therapist would tell me something I didn’t want to hear, I went to my first session with trepidation in my heart. In a manner that should no longer surprise me, but really, really does, it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

In the event that you are considering wading into the water of counselling, I’d like to debunk some misconceptions and give you a fighting chance to be less spastic than I was.

couch_360Expectation: I’ll lie down on a couch while a therapist sits uncomfortably close in a nearby chair.

Reality: I had a chair, she had a chair, personal boundaries were maintained.

Expectation: 45 minutes, 1 time per week, and I’m done.

Reality: Homework. Whether it’s making a list of personal goals or changing my behavior in incremented steps, there is work to be done once I leave the office.

Expectation: “How does that make you feel?” “How does that make you feel?” “How does that make you feel?” (*low growl*)

Reality: “Okay, talk more about ______.” “What goes through your mind when you _____?” “How does _______ impact your life/relationships/work/family?” “How do you usually deal with ______?”

ExpectationShe’s just going to use psychological jargon and make me feel bad about the past.

Reality: Having a therapist is like hiring a guide when scaling Mt. Everest. If you had to do it on your own, you’d never make it. You just don’t know the way. The guide, however, knows the way and is just as invested in helping you reach the summit as you are. They show you the path, but you still have to make the climb.

Expectation: It’ll takes years of therapy to start seeing changes in my life.

Reality: I felt a little better after the first session. Nothing earth-shattering, but a little better. Maybe just relief at knowing I could get better.

Expectation: I’ll cry. A lot. 

Reality: I cried. A lot.


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