Could You Benefit From Therapy?

Could You Benefit From Therapy?

10 July 2023

For most people, it’s usually something specific that prompts them to seek therapy or counselling, but therapy isn’t just for moments of earth shattering personal tragedies.

Over the decades and especially since the pandemic, the stigma of therapy has faded. It has come to be perceived as a form of self-care, almost like a gym membership – normalized as a routine, healthful commitment.

True, therapy helps us through difficult times which are inevitable given that life is unpredictable, often strange, and frequently painful. But it can also be used as a protective factor to help smooth the bumps in the road – as well as make a good thing even better. Talking about the past, present, and future can lead to greater self-understanding, improve chronic stress, bolster personal strengths, and change how we interact with those closest to us.

Although many South Africans are aware of the profound benefits of psychotherapy, booking your first therapy session comes with its own anxieties. How would you know if your therapist is the right fit? Will he\she have empathy and professionalism? Will it be a safe place to explore your thoughts, feelings, and concerns?

Here’s the thing, finding the right therapist is a lot like dating. If the first one you try isn’t a good fit, move on. As corny as it sounds, there are many more fish in the sea. Research has shown that the client-therapist “fit” is the most important factor in a successful therapy experience.

So, first of all, to boost your odds of success, chat to a few prospective therapists on the phone before making an appointment. Call them, leave a message that you’re looking for a therapist and have some questions, then let them take it from there. When they call back; do they sound kind and interested in you? Ask them what they specialize in and how they approach therapy. Trained and licenced professionals are happy to answer these questions and this information is important for you to know.

What should you expect from the first session? The therapist will probably do more talking in the first session then they will in subsequent sessions. The goal of the first session is simple: to put a face to the name, find out what you’d like to address, gather facts and relevant history, and building a good rapport with you.

Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat – they only know what you share with them. If you’re holding back, you’re stunting the process. If you worry about confidentiality, ask about it. You should always feel safe; it may not necessarily feel comfortable, but you should always, always feel safe and heard.

Therapists should provide hope without promises and guarantees. If you and your therapist have discussed goals, you can use them to gauge your progress. However, if you feel that your therapy isn’t progressing, speak up. Communication is key. In turn your therapist should be able to provide solutions, if not, it’s likely time to move on.

Ultimately therapy is an investment in your emotional, physical and mental health; an act of courage, not weakness. It’s about embracing what we have in order to reach our full, prosperous potential as human beings.

“People who wonder if the glass is half empty or half full miss the point. The glass is refillable” – Simon Sinek


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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