Entering therapy can be daunting and confusing. First myth, there is no lying down on couches as we so often see in films. So, what happens in therapy? Generally, the first session is all about information gathering. Which helps your potential therapist to paint a picture around what’s bringing you to therapy, what you are hoping to gain from therapy and helping you to understand how they work and what they can offer.
Myth – You have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition to go to therapy.
You do NOT need a to have a diagnosed mental health condition to access therapy. Entering therapy is an investment in yourself, much the same as the investment you make in accessing a gym, swimming or dance classes. We often give so much more attention to our physical health than our mental health and for me, they go hand in hand. Mind and body connection.
There is still so much stigma around mental health that prevents people from accessing the help and support they deserve because of fear of judgment, not only from others but also how they judge themselves, “I should be able to cope with this” or “I have to keep this to myself” and perhaps “I just need to get on with it”.
Maybe some of that sounds familiar to you? Accessing therapy and finding the right therapist for you is a powerful, meaningful and empowering way to improve and maintain your mental wellbeing.
Myth – I want fixing
One of the biggest misconceptions I hear about therapy is that a client wants “fixing”, that they believe themselves to be broken. I am not there to fix you because you are NOT broken.
In case you need to hear this today, you are Not broken.
What we can do in therapy together, if it feels right for you, is to explore situations and events that have brought to feeling this way. Help you understand the whys and begin to find ways to offer yourself compassion.
For example, we often let our inner critics take over and berate ourselves. I should have done better. What is the matter with me? Why am I so stupid? I hate my body. I should be able to figure this out on my own. I know I’ve said some of these things at different times to myself.
Would you speak to friend this way?
No way, of course not. I encourage you to try this the next time you are struggling with your inner critic. It is a really simple and powerful way to stop our thoughts clouding us.
Therapy is a space that is accepting, genuine, unbiased, respectful, unique and collaborative. Here are some ways to recognise that your therapist is the right one for you,
- Feeling safe – a consistent, confidential and warm space to explore what you are feeling
- A willingness to be honest – you don’t just bring the easy stuff, instead you feel a willingness to try to say what is happening for you even when it’s tough.
- Not colluding – when your therapist gently and sensitively challenges thoughts and behaviours to increase awareness and understanding of yourself.
- Feeling heard and understood – opening those raw, painful parts of yourself and feeling acknowledged without judgement.
- Working with you – it feels like your therapist is moving beside you, accompanying you and encouraging you to find your own answers.
Thanks for stopping by and reading this, go kindly