Therapy Q & A
What can I expect when I start therapy?
Being vulnerable will likely feel great and wildly uncomfortable at the same time
It can be really emotionally draining/exhausting and you may need time after therapy to decompress or nap
There are likely more cans of worms for us to open than you expect
Not every session has an "aha" moment; sometimes sessions are about laying the groundwork before you have a breakthrough or taking a breather after a breakthrough.
You may not feel better for a while, and that's normal. The hope though, is that you feel safe, accepted, and respected right away. That helps us do the work of feeling better.
What can I expect from my first session?
The first session is about starting to get to know you and setting a plan for working together.
This means not only getting to know what is going on with you but starting to observe how you react to emotional content, what beliefs you hold about your experiences, how you interact with the dynamic of therapy, what your body language tells are.
Creating a plan for working together means identifying the primary concern you would like to address and gauging your readiness to approach this concern. It also means discussing possible perspectives and interventions we can draw from in our work together and being candid about expectations of each other as we move forward.
How many sessions does it usually take to feel better?
It depends! There are so many factors that go into this, such as whether this is a longstanding concern or a situational concern, but in general, this style of therapy is a little slower. I usually work with clients for 10 – 20+ sessions and over a period of 6 – 12 months.
What do we actually DO in session?
I love this question because therapy can feel like this weird intangible thing sometimes, especially because change can happen slowly and in small ways. Each therapy session, in subtle or overt ways, we are co-creating corrective emotional experiences for the client and I am facilitating - through questions, observations, and alternative perspectives - greater self-awareness and capacity for choice in thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
We can feel that we have "done the work" in session if you leave feeling that you were understood, validated, and gently challenged through feeling emotions and reflecting on things you've never considered before. Sometimes "doing the work" is quite uncomfortable, and leaving sessions feeling drained or a little raw is fairly normal.
How can I get the most out of therapy?
Come to each session knowing what you want to talk about, whether that is something new or a continuation of what we were working on last session.
Say no when you want to say no. You are never obligated to share something you don’t want to/feel ready to share and I really appreciate when clients set boundaries in session!
If you want or need something in any given session, please ask! It’s great practice in identifying, communicating, and taking up space for your needs.
If something isn’t working, you feel upset or bothered by something that was said, or you have been misunderstood, openly addressing this can be incredibly therapeutic and often illuminates a dynamic issue or alternative perspective that couldn’t have seen otherwise. Therapy needs to always be a safe space for feedback
Understand that because therapy is a transactional relationship, client and therapist need to hold space for both boundaries and humanness within the dynamic. Just because it's a transactional relationship though, it doesn't mean that it is any less real; clients are paying for my time, not for my care. Care is freely given and extends far beyond the 50 minute session.
What if I feel like this isn't working?
This happens! Sometimes we aren't a good fit working together, sometimes it's not a great time in your life to be diving in to this type of work, and sometimes therapy isn't actually what you need. All of this is okay, and I encourage you to advocate for what you need for yourself and search for a better fit, hit pause, or consider other types of supports. I'm always happy to discuss this with you and help in whatever way I can.