I'm starting therapy soon. What do I need to know?
If you're planning to begin therapy, you may have several questions in mind. How will it go? What will I be asked to share? How can my therapist help me? What can I do to be more prepared?
How can I decide which therapist is for me?
If you have several options, choosing among them can be challenging; you may want to go with the person who is the best fit for you. So here are a few things to keep in mind:
Find out their credentials: where they have trained, what their experience is, where they practice, what they specialize in, are they affiliated to any organizations
Ask for a telephone call or a pilot session
Ask them about their style: are they directive or non-directive?
Assess your level of comfort with them
Ask them questions that helps you understand if their worldviews match yours - particularly if you are concerned about being discriminated against for your identity or your life choices.
What will my first session look like?
The first session is usually for establishing rapport and collecting information your therapist will need to help you. During the first session, your therapist may ask:
How you are doing emotionally
Why you are seeking therapy at the moment
If there a particular incident or interaction that pushed you to make the decision
What your expectations are from therapy
If you have any therapy-related goals
What information do I need to go prepared with?
Your therapist may ask you to share the following information:
Your name, age, medical history
Your history of mental health issues, if any
Whether you have been in therapy before
What you are looking for in therapy
Whom they can contact in case of an emergency
Your therapist will also tell you about their confidentiality agreements (and possibly ask you to sign a confidentiality contract)
I'd like to know more about my therapist's work but don't know what to ask
It's understandable that you would want information about your therapist's experience or their style of working to know what to expect. Some questions you can ask:
Are they open to you attending a few sessions with them before you make a long-term commitment?
Are they open to receiving feedback from you about how therapy is going for you?
Have they dealt with cases similar to yours? (if you have a specific mental health issue)
Are they open to be contacted between sessions, in case of emergency?
When they are away, who can you contact for support and how?
The approach they follow and how they evaluate the progress made during therapy.
Will my therapist fix all my problems for me?
Therapy means that you work on addressing and resolving your emotional issues, and the therapist may support you in seeing them from a different perspective, and help you work on them independently.
Myth: My therapist will fix your problems in a certain number of sessions.
Fact: The therapist will tell you what to do to solve any problems you may be facing
Myth:I can meet my therapist outside of my sessions in a social setting.
Fact:While in therapy, it is recommended to meet your therapist in a social setting only.
Can my therapist be my friend too?
Myth: I can have have a personal relationship with my therapist outside the therapy setting.
Fact:In India, each therapist has their own set of guidelines. Internatinally, it is recommended that a therapist refrain from contacting or having a relationship with their client outside the clinical setting to ensure objectivity and to maintain the integrity of the therapeutic relationship.
Myth: I can call my therapist anytime I like.
Fact: Check with your therapist if they're open to being called outside sessions, and in what circumstances.