Monday, 2 July 2012

What to expect when seeing a therapist for the first time

Seeing a therapist for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience. On the one hand you may feel relief that you are seeking help, but on the other, discussing emotional and personal problems with a stranger can be very intimidating.

With the wide choice of psychotherapy schools and therapists out there, we wanted to create a checklist that someone seeking therapy could use to choose a therapist that is effective as possible, and this checklist is also a great way for those new to therapy to find out what a session may entail.

 An effective psychotherapist or counsellor:
  • knows how to build rapport quickly with distressed people,
  • understands depression and how to lift it,
  • helps immediately with anxiety problems including trauma or fear related symptoms — is prepared to give advice if needed or asked for,
  • will not use jargon or 'psychobabble' or tell you that counselling or psychotherapy has to be 'painful'
  • will not dwell unduly on the past,
  • will be supportive when difficult feelings emerge, but will not encourage people to get emotional beyond the normal need to 'let go' of any bottled up feelings,
  • may assist you to develop your social skills so that your needs for affection, friendship, pleasure, intimacy, connection to the wider community etc. can be better fulfilled,
  • will help you to draw and build on your own resources (which may prove greater than you thought),
  • will be considerate of the effects of counselling on the people close to you,
  • may teach you to relax deeply,
  • may help you think about your problems in new and more empowering ways,
  • uses a wide range of techniques as appropriate,
  • may ask you to do things between sessions,
  • will take as few sessions as possible,
  • will increase your self confidence and independence and make sure you feel better after every consultation.
If you are searching for an effective therapist, take a look at our register of Human Givens Therapists for effective psychotherapy in the UK.

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