Information About Therapy for Adults
“In a painful flash of recollection and remorse, I found myself coming to terms with my life - having become discouraged, confused and alone. A close friend recommended I try to get in to see Karen Gardner. In spite of my anxiety and fears, I have to say that mental health therapy has been one of the best personal decisions I have made as a mature adult.”Name withheld for privacy
“Karen has such a gift for putting me at ease. I have never been comfortable opening up about personal things but now even exploring my fears and phobias happens without much stress at all. After some weeks of therapy, I am moving forward, facing challenges that once were debilitating and have a newly found feeling of hope. I could not have accomplished these things without the professional help from Karen. I whole-heartedly recommend this experience to anyone struggling with mental heaviness and distress.”Name withheld for privacy
“For as long as I can remember, I had lived in a frightening and confusing haze. My mind always seemed full of images of me as a child and being marginalized and abused. Therapy always seemed like a logical place to find answers but I didn’t feel strong enough to ever give it a try. That is until a family member detailed her experience with Karen Gardner. The principles behind the alphabet soup of acronyms – EMDR and DNMS – have changed my life, in fact, saved my life. ”Name withheld for privacy
Should You See aTherapist?
It’s a fairly common practice, if you break a bone, cut yourself and need stitches or get a major infection - you seek the advice of a medical professional. It’s not quite so common to ask for help when you feel depressed or anxious or are feeling the effects of abuse.
If you are considering scheduling a session with a mental health counselor, take confidence in your thinking and make the appointment. Lots of people get to this position and hesitate to move forward. Making the decision and taking action are two of the hardest parts, experiencing therapy first hand makes the effort well worthwhile.
So what is it that keeps people from seeking help for mental health issues that are as treatable as physical ones? It seems to be one or more of the following:
- Fear of the unknown. Fear that there might be something truly wrong. Fear that other issues will arise, that will have to be dealt with.
- Lack of trust of the trade. Lack of understanding of the therapeutic process. Lack of confidence that anything can help.
- Shame of needing counseling. Concern for what others might think. Stigma that therapy is for the weak and crazy.
Don't Fight the Feelings
Fear of the issues, lack of understanding, anxiety and stigma are real concerns and there are simply no easy ways to get past them without delving into the actual therapeutic process. Learning about YOU and shining light on problems is difficult but the journey of self-discovery and healing are certain to bring more happiness.
Don’t fight the feelings you are having, they are a normal and part of the process. The fact you are reading this is a positive sign you are on the right path. If you choose to continue doing the same things you’ve always done, you also choose to experience the same results. So choose now, to seek help.
What to Expect from Therapy
You are at this point of considering therapy because something about your thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors is causing you concern. These issues may be causing internal distress, causing problems in your relationships or negatively affecting your life. This is where therapists are able to help you sort these things out and provide counsel, tools and comfort.
Most individuals who find themselves at this point have some general idea of what is going on in their lives – they feel depressed, anxious, overly emotional, manic, etc. Examples of these types of symptoms are prevalent in the world and information is easily accessible on the Internet and in the media – which allows many people to self-diagnose long before they ever get professional help. This is good and bad. Good, if it leads to actually getting help. Bad, when the self-diagnosis is incorrect and creates unnecessary distress and worry.
Your First Session
Counseling sessions are typically 45 minutes, though sometimes your first session will be longer. Prior to your first visit, you will fill out a number of forms and assessments. This paper work helps your therapist quickly get to know you and creates a benchmark to measure your progress going forward.
Your first visit is primarily a fact-finding session, where you will answer a question like, “So, tell me why you’re here?” You will be encouraged to share your history and your ‘story’. Plan on being as straightforward, honest and detailed possible. Therapists are not trained to judge you or to show you how messed up you are. Their primary jobs are to listen to you, get to know you and counsel you. Don’t try to out-think them or play mind games. If you will share openly and trust the process, you will find healing sooner than later.
In your session, try to focus on the details of your life and current issues that are most important to you and/or come to mind the quickest. Plan on being asked about your childhood and other significant relationships. With only 45 minutes, you are sure to leave things out. Don’t worry about this, because during your next session, your therapist will help you pick up where you left off. The goal is to help you therapist get to know you.
After Your First Session
If you’re like most people, you will leave your first session with mixed feelings. You will have feelings of relief, peace and hope – that you are a road to healing. You may also have feelings of confusion, distress and anxiety – as you begin to face some very big issues in your life. Most people who begin the psychotherapeutic process end up appreciating the experience and enjoying their time with a therapist. This is partly because therapy is an opportunity to explore new and healthy ways of thinking, of feeling and of living.
All the while the therapist is learning about you and your issues, he or she is formulating an initial diagnosis for your problem(s). This is important because an accurate diagnosis forms the basis for a treatment plan. Among other things, the treatment plan includes the combining psychiatric care, the use of medication, various forms of assessment and measurement along with therapy.
The diagnosis (and sometimes the treatment plan) are necessary elements of your care that insurance companies require in order to reimburse you. It’s common that the therapist will not make a formal diagnosis until after a few sessions. As they get to know you, it’s also common for a therapist to change or modify your diagnosis.
Plan on Working
Schedule time to debrief each therapy session and ponder your experiences, fears and concerns. Take seriously, the homework and reading assignments you are given. Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings as well as questions that your therapist could answer. Ask for specific tips and strategies to help your unique situation.
Be open to the recommendations and feedback you receive. Learn to trust your intuition when inspiration makes itself known and be fearless in the actions you take. By seeking help and incorporating it into your life, you will more easily move through the tough times toward happier, healthier times.