Therapy FAQs: Commonly Asked Questions About Engaging in Therapy
I know that the idea of engaging in therapy can be a scary and unfamiliar process. Here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions that will help ease some of the uncertainty you may have about engaging in therapy.
HOW DOES THERAPY HELP AND WHAT KIND OF BENEFITS CAN I EXPECT FROM THERAPY?
Sometimes it takes the help of a professional who can give a different yet helpful perspective. A therapist can help guide you through the process of self-discovery, awareness, or making necessary changes you may not have been able to figure out on your own. Sometimes just having a "safe place" to process your feelings and emotions and know that they will be validated is a huge benefit of therapy in itself.
To name a few, here are some other possible benefits you can expect to get out of therapy:
Ways to cope that are effective
Self-awareness-learning more about who you are
Positive coping skills
Setting and achieving goals that are important to you
Learning how to better manage and cope with stress, anxiety, depression or other life issues
Improving your self-confidence
Learning ways to set healthy boundaries
Ways to communicate in a healthy and effective (assertive) way
A life that is more enjoyable
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT ON MY FIRST VISIT?
It is normal to feel a bit anxious or on guard during your initial visit especially if this is your first time in therapy. Your therapist will do their best to help you feel comfortable. On your first visit you should expect for the therapist to get to know you. They will typically gather information about what you are seeking therapy for as well as information about your behavioral, relationship and family history.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A THERAPY SESSION? WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Therapy sessions are typically scheduled for 50 minutes, however they can be scheduled for a longer duration if requested or if there is a need. Most likely sessions will be scheduled on a once a week basis which is deemed as most effective. There may be times when there is a need to meet more than once a week such as a crisis that occurs. During a therapy session the expectation is to discuss the concerns and issues that you have. There may be times when there are "homework" or reflection assignments that are given to you to complete between sessions. Therapy requires work during and outside of therapy sessions in order for substantial progress to take place.
IS THERAPY CONFIDENTIAL?
In most cases therapy is confidential and there are laws in place that make this a requirement for providers. There are a few exceptions to this rule:
You give written permission. You have the option to sign a consent form to share certain information with a specific person or agency.
You express intent to harm yourself or intent to harm another person. It is required that we notify the police and there is a duty to warn the person you intend to harm.
There is suspected child or elder abuse. There is a requirement to notify social services.
A court order of records in put in place. There are some situations in which someone may be involved in a court case and their record is subpoenaed. In most cases the therapist is required to provide this information.
It is vital to do your best to get a feel for the therapist in the beginning. Just like a pair of shoes or a pair of jeans, finding a therapist that is a "good fit" is just as important.