Enrolling and attending counselling can be essential in managing specific situations. But the question that pops up for most people is, “Will I be too vulnerable?” It is a common concern for those visiting a counsellor’s office for the first time. It can be hard to determine how much is too much when sharing information. When dealing with a professional therapist, that should not be a concern since they uphold confidentiality. All of your information is safe with them. Therefore, your focus should instead be on getting better and utilizing the sessions you have enrolled for.
It may be easier for a counsellor to diagnose a problem if you are more open, which may prolong some sessions that would have otherwise been handled promptly. To develop an effective plan, therapists must understand specific problems’ backstories. Vulnerability gets you in touch with your emotions. So shelving emotions can sometimes lead to depression and anger.
Once you are vulnerable, you will not be afraid to express your frustrations and weaknesses. Counsellors are trained to handle emotions; thus, that should not be a worry. Let’s go through some ways you can maximize your therapy sessions.
Have Information About the Counselor
The first step of therapy is to understand your therapist and their counselling approach. Once you understand your therapists, you will comprehend better how their style will work for you. Additionally, getting to know your therapists draws you closer to them so that you do not feel like you are talking to a stranger.
Therapy can take longer; therefore, it is best to be sure you’ll be comfortable with the therapist handling your case in the long run. Sometimes compatibility issues can lead to some therapist-patient relationships getting terminated prematurely. In such circumstances, one has to start finding another therapist from scratch, which can be tiresome, and they might end up giving up on their recovery. Therefore, before you delve deeper into opening up, ensure you understand your therapist and their mode of counselling.
Therapy may be too much to take in, especially if you have to open some past wounds and traumas. You may have second thoughts about opening up, especially if you are embarrassed about certain things that have occurred in your life. However, it is essential to remember that therapists are not there to judge you. Instead, they want to learn more about your skeletons so that they can help you. Therefore, once you enrol for therapy, make a mental note, to be honest with your therapist.
If you are attending a couple’s session and feel like your partner’s presence may undermine your honesty, then it is best to ask the therapists if you can go through some sessions alone.
It is okay to take your time before unfolding some issues. However, notify your therapist that talking about some things makes you uncomfortable. Revelation and healing always take place at the pace of the patient so do not feel obliged to reveal everything about yourself at once.
Comprehend the Relationship
It is important to note that your therapist is not your friend. Therefore, you should know the natural boundaries right from the first session. On your first visit, your therapist will inform you of the boundaries and how you will go about your sessions. Respecting such boundaries is essential since it is the only way you will get assistance.
Once you form a deeper relationship with a counsellor, they may be conflicted on how to go about handling some issues. For example, you may talk to your therapist all night and even share the most profound secrets that those close to you are unaware of, but that does not change your relationship. When you understand this, you will make it easy for the therapist to find the balance between developing a professional relationship and being empathetic. Maintaining a professional relationship also makes it easy to detach from them if you need to find a new therapist.
Here are some tips to help maintain a professional relationship.
- Choose an ideal appointment time
- Let the counsellor take the lead
- Communicate openly
- Get clearness around confidentiality
Be Prepared to Feel Challenged
The relationship between a therapist and their patient may be cordial, but they will not hesitate to call out a mistake or challenge you to do better. If you are ready to start therapy, you are probably asking yourself, “Where can I find a therapist near me?” Once you find one, prepare for the highs and lows that come with enrolling for counselling sessions. So it is best to prepare mentally for such challenges.
Remember, therapists always want their patients to go through a smooth recovery process. Thus, they don’t feel intimidated when they point out some shortcomings. Such pointers can help in the recovery journey.
When you take corrections personally, taking offence at trivial matters will be accessible even when the therapist means well. Facing your problems may not be easy; however, in the process, some things may be uncomfortable yet significant in your healing process. Therefore, stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing corrections, regardless of how uncomfortable they may be, will be the ideal thing to do.
Counselling may involve several activities, hence the need to set targets. Writing down your goals will be essential in simplifying the lessons learned during therapy. For instance, you may have a weekly goal of applauding yourself. It is a simple activity yet profound. Such targets will help guide your sessions and recovery.
With sustainable goals, it is much easier to self-evaluate your achievements. It may also be effortless to note even the tiniest behavioural shifts. Remember, the goals should be achievable so you don’t get under pressure to perform. Once you put pressure on yourself, you may feel insufficient if you fail to meet the targets. You may also give your therapist false feedback, making it hard to identify whether the problem has been resolved.
Here are some goal-setting tips for therapy:
- Keep track of what you have accomplished in life
- Track the things you don’t want to repeat
- Identify things that are holding you back
- Identify things that inspire you
Therapy takes time before you start noticing any changes. Sometimes you may feel like you are stagnating, and that is okay. Take time to work on yourself without the rush to impress your therapist or others. It can be frustrating if you notice no changes. Once you notice that frustration is kicking in, ensure you let your counsellor know.
Also, let them know what is not working for you so they can make adjustments or devise a new plan. Once you understand that you are a work-in-progress, you will be patient with yourself; even Rome, as perfect as it may look, wasn’t built in a day.
Moreover, once you practice patience, you will be kind to yourself enough. You’ll even find it easy to learn from past mistakes.
Stepping into a therapist’s office for the first time can be intimidating, and you may feel like you are giving away your control. Likewise, sharing some aspect of your life with someone you just met may be challenging, so you should take your time. But taking your time does not mean withholding information from them.
A therapist will allow you to ease into the program and may even help you feel comfortable. So once you enrol for your therapy, ensure you are patient, open to challenges, and understanding to get the most out of your sessions. And remember, your emotions don’t make you weak. So be vulnerable.