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What You Can Expect From Psychotherapy: The First Sessions

therapyMental health experts estimate that there are 350,000,000 people around the world affected by some form of depression. For many of those individuals, there are therapy services that can offer some form of help. Whether this is to handle grief or trauma caused by life events, to learn strategies for coping with persistent depressive episodes, or just to have an individual to vent to, therapists are integral parts of our mental healthcare infrastructure.

Therapy is not just about talking about your problems to an impartial listener; it is also about working toward solutions. This work can involve homework such as tracking your moods, writing your thoughts in a journal, or participating in social activities that caused anxiety in the past. When you visit counselors for depression, you will be encouraged to look at things in a different way or learn to react in new ways to events and people.

Today, many therapy sessions are focused on exploring current thoughts, feelings, and life issues. However, everyone’s journey will be different, and your counselor will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that works for you.

If you’ve decided to start visiting a therapist, then you’ve already made an important step in your recovery. Even though hundreds of millions of people suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, far too many suffer in silence because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.

But because these issues are so rarely discussed, many people have no idea what to expect from their first talking therapy session. When you first get started in therapy, it may be helpful to make a list of things that are bothering you and what issues you would like assistance with.

These can include:

  1. Issues in family or relationships.
  2. Sudden life events that have caused unusual amounts of stress, depression, or anxiety.
  3. Anger, anxiety, irritability, or troubling feelings.
  4. Thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  5. Major life changes.

In the first few sessions, it is likely that you will do most of the talking. You need to tell the therapist why you are there and what you would like to get out of your time together. This can be achieved by making a short and long-term goal with the therapist at the start of treatment.

It’s also important to mange your own expectations. Therapy can be an emotionally draining experience, and you will need patience to get through it. In addition, you may not notice a difference in your mood or thinking after a few sessions, which is natural for therapy. After some time has passed, check the list and see if you’re closer to reaching your goals. It can be helpful to track how you feel each day and how you begin to cope differently with stressful situations. Reviewing this progress with your therapist can help you both ensure you’re making the progress you deserve.

The battle against depression, anxiety, or stress is never easy, but it will be worth it in the end. If you have any questions about therapy or want to see counselors in your area, don’t hesitate to book for your appointment.

No one should have to battle mental illness alone.

June 30, 2017

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