Q: For the past few years, I’ve had issues with anxiety and panic attacks. I can’t sleep without taking NyQuil or Benadryl and sometimes I have a hard time leaving the house. It sucks and I’m finally ready to see a therapist, but I’m wondering what it’s like? How do you know if the therapist is a good match or not?
A: Just like you take care of your body by working out or going to see a Dr when you’re sick, therapy is just another way of taking care of yourself. I commend you for you making this first step. You are your biggest advocate, so bravo. It takes a lot of strength to ask for help, you’re stronger than you might think.
So, here’s the low down.
Therapy is a time to share your deepest thoughts and feelings in a safe place with no judgement. It’s actually pretty refreshing because you can just be the raw, unedited version of yourself. With your therapist’s guidance, you’ll reflect on the past and hopefully create some new perspectives for the future. A lot of people love therapy and find it to be life changing.
Your first visit will be an initial assessment, so you’ll have to fill out paperwork, answer questions about your symptoms and history. To be honest, a first visit can feel a bit overwhelming since you’re sharing all your personal information without a whole lot of feedback. The therapist has to get an understanding of you who you are so they know what the treatment goals are. And they will ask you what your goals are, so think about what you’d like to get out of therapy. Just know that the following sessions will be much more interactive with your therapist giving you feedback. To me, that’s a clear sign of a good therapist-someone who gives you strategies and tools to use in your daily life to help manage your emotions and behavior. It’s also essential that you feel comfortable with your therapist. Give them a chance, but you may have to go through a few to find a good fit.
Investing time in your personal development is never time wasted.