What can you expect when you engage in Individual therapy?
The First Session
Rapport Building, Intake, Assessments, and History taking
Your therapist will complete a thorough assessment process with you to understand your past history and current stressors. You will likely be asked questions about your life and your background. This could include things such as your occupation, your academic background, and your hobbies.
Setting goals with your therapist will facilitate change and can help you hold yourself accountable for your growth. Your goals should be ever-evolving as you grow Some common therapy goals:
Developing coping skills for overwhelming emotions
Increasing self-esteem and reducing negative self-talk
Improving sleep quality and prioritizing restfulness
Learning new communication strategies
Processing thoughts and feelings about past trauma
Inviting more mindfulness and presence into everyday life
Changing harmful or unhelpful behaviors
Sharpening your boundary-setting skills
Discovering more about who you are, what you want, and where your values lie
Tailoring A Treatment Plan Personalized For You and Your Goals
Your therapist will suggest some possible clinical paths, and together, you will decide what approach and modalities seem like the best fit. Once you establish on your treatment plan, you will begin your therapy journey and start accomplishing your goals!
What approach is best for me?
Therapists take different approaches. Some will be more direct, providing feedback on your progress, homework exercises to practice some of the techniques learned in therapy, or suggestions of what he/she thinks might be helpful. Others will give you more space to draw your conclusions and direct the course of therapy. It is important to ask your therapist what approach they have and determine if that is the right fit for you.
What if I decide my therapist is not a good fit?
You can decide in the first few sessions whether the person you see is a good fit for you.
If, after two or three sessions, you do not feel comfortable or you don’t feel you have a good working relationship with your therapist, it may be best to try someone else.
Remember, this is your investment in your mental health. Counselors want to know when something doesn’t feel right so we can adjust our course of action, or provide you with referrals for another therapist. Important: You will not hurt our feelings if you decide you want to end our therapeutic relationship.
Do I have to tell my therapist everything?
Opening up can be hard, and it may take time for you to trust your therapist. It is OK to say that you do not feel ready to talk about something difficult right now.
Your thoughts and feelings will help your therapist understand you and how to help. It is important that you feel comfortable enough to say what is on your mind.
Improvement is faster if your therapist can understand and relate positively to you, and you can work together on goals you both agree on.
Should I do anything in between sessions?
How much you get out of therapy will depend on you! It is important to follow up on homework and practice using new skills or goals between therapy sessions. The benefits of therapy are what happens outside of sessions. The benefits of therapy are seen in the real world; your mental wellness relationships, work, etc.
How do I know if I am making progress?
Keep in mind that therapy is designed to equip you with long-term solutions rather than a quick fix.
Any change in life involves time and effort. Your commitment to attend appointments regularly, courage to look at yourself honestly, and willingness to make some difficult changes in your life will help you make progress.
How long do I need to come to therapy?
The length of treatment depends on your situation, including the nature of your problems. Most people require eight to 20 sessions to reach their goals for treatment.
Some people decide to come to therapy indefinitely as part of their regular self-care routine.
Sessions are often weekly to start, then spread out more (for example, once every other week) to allow time between the sessions to work on the problem.