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What To Expect From Therapy

What to Expect From Therapy

The process of starting therapy can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. If you are considering therapy, it’s important to know what to expect before you begin. 


Here’s what you can typically expect when starting therapy.

 

Recognizing the need for a therapist: 

Therapy can be helpful for a variety of reasons. You may feel like something is off, or that you aren’t functioning as well as you would like to. Signs you may want to seek therapy include difficulty completing written or spoken tasks, changes in sleep or eating patterns, physical symptoms without a clear physical cause, and increased use of drugs/alcohol or other coping mechanisms. If any of these signs resonate with you, it may be time to look for a therapist. 


Finding a Therapist: 

The search for a suitable therapist is an important first step in the process. There are many resources available for finding therapists, including personal referrals, online directories, and healthcare providers. Once you have a list of potential therapists, you can research them further to ensure they have experience in treating the condition or issue you need help with.


Initial consultation: 

Once you’ve found a therapist you’d like to work with, you’ll likely have an initial consultation. This meeting can be done in person or virtually, and is typically a chance for you and the therapist to get to know each other. You can discuss your reasons for seeking therapy and your goals for treatment. 


Assessment and diagnosis: 

In order to develop an appropriate treatment plan, a therapist will typically conduct a full assessment and diagnose your condition. This process may include asking detailed questions about your medical history, family history, lifestyle, and symptoms. It may also include using diagnostic tools such as questionnaires and psychological assessments. 


Treatment planning: 

After the initial consultation and assessment, the therapist will develop a treatment plan. The plan may include a combination of therapy techniques that are tailored to your individual needs. This can range from cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing negative thought patterns, to mindfulness-based therapy, which focuses on developing mindfulness skills. 


Ongoing therapy sessions: 

Once the treatment plan is established, ongoing therapy sessions are typically scheduled. During these sessions, you will work with the therapist to address the issues you are facing and learn the skills you need to manage them. 


Progress monitoring and adjustments: 

As you progress through your therapy program, your therapist will work with you to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. This may include changing the type or frequency of therapy or referring you to additional healthcare specialists. 


Termination: 

At some point, you will likely feel ready to end your therapy sessions. This may be because you have made significant progress toward your goals or feel you have received the support you need to continue on your own. 


In some cases, the therapist may suggest a trial period of ending or reducing sessions and evaluate the outcome of such change a few weeks or months later. Overall, starting therapy can involve a range of emotions, from relief that you are taking steps to improve your mental health to nervousness about what to expect. However, by understanding the process, you can approach starting therapy with confidence and a clearer vision of what to expect.

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