I am a Counselling Psychologist, so of course it's only intuitive that I urge everyone I meet, to try out therapy. This article is not to convince you, to come to me for therapy at all! Please remember that it is always completely up to you, to choose a therapist that you are comfortable with. and it is also completely okay to try a couple of therapists until you find the one that is right for you.
Most individuals I come across in my daily life, do mention that they have contemplated therapy at some point in their lives. When I request them to share with me their reasons they gave themselves to avoid making an appointment or what apprehensions they had, a number of things came up.
- "I did not feel like my problem is big/ severe enough to warrant therapy" - Most people feel this way at some point in their lives. What therapists all over the world try to bring across to the public is that, that is exactly the right time to step in! You feel like you are at a place where you could benefit from a listening ear, a safe space, a non-judgmental environment and a little support while also feeling like you are capable of managing your concerns. This is why it is the right time to work on mobilizing your coping skills and developing strategies that ensure that you can overcome the problem while still feeling competent along with learning the skills to prevent and effectively deal with future circumstances. This is in contrast to- when people desperately seek an appointment at the depth of their problems, when they see no way out and are convinced that there's nothing left to try.
- "My family and friends will judge me, if they know I am going for Counselling" - In our society that may actually be the case, but I am pleasantly surprised to see that all the effort to eliminate the stigma attached to seeking mental health services is decreasing. This is due to the fact that people are learning that counselling is not just for people who are "mad"/"crazy" or have lost touch with reality. You may actually be surprised that after the initial resistance of your family and friends, once they see the positive changes and growth that you experience- you may actually become an advocate unknowingly, which may motivate them to seek help themselves.
- "Counselling and therapy is so expensive and takes ages! I don't have the time for that!" - It is true that certain therapeutic approaches are long term. Yet many others are relatively short-term (8-12 weeks) and solution-focused for today's fast-paced world. Different Counselling psychologists may follow different therapeutic orientations. You as a client have the right to ask for details on what kind of therapy the counsellor/ therapist plans to follow through with you. Yes some therapists are more expensive than others, but with some input from your side, you will find someone who will fit your budget as well as be suitable for you. Please remember, you would not put off going to a physiotherapist for a knee pain, regardless of the cost of consultation.
The clients that do come for their first session to me, or people who share their experiences of commencing therapy, usually share the following:
- "I knew after the first session, that I had made the right choice!"
- "I didn't realize how helpful it would be to just speak with some one"
- "I was surprised how comfortable I felt in the very first session to share intimate details about my life, my thoughts, my feelings or things i was ashamed of accepting myself"
- "I realized after my first consultation, that there doesn't need to be a problem, to go for therapy!"
- "That was exactly what I needed, although I was previously convinced I don't need therapy"
- "I feel like all that time I delayed making an appointment really did me no good. I could have rather spent it being productive from the beginning"
At the end of the day remember, that one session is like testing the waters, if you think it's not for you, you can try another therapist or decide to postpone it- after giving it a try first.
Leave your apprehensions behind and hop on, to a journey of growth and thriving. You will definitely not regret that first session!