So what brings you here today? Whatever has brought you to therapy is irrelevant. In fact, good on you for reaching out for help. It’s an incredibly healthy thing to do even if you’re not on the verge of a breakdown. Our friends and family do a good job of placating us, but sometimes an objective professional opinion is necessary. Take it from someone who put off going to therapy for years because I thought I was fine and my problems weren’t “real.” Look, if you’re losing over sleep, struggling to concentrate and feeling more emotional than you usually do, don’t be shy about making an appointment. I still think what goes down in therapy is mystery to most of us, which could also be why we don’t subject ourselves to it. It might be easier if you knew what to expect, so here is what no one tells your about seeing a psychologist for the first time.
There will be awkward silences
And it can be uncomfortable. It isn’t the role of psychologist to the bulk of the talking, it’s your time to talk about everything troubling you. Obviously sometimes you have nothing to say at times, but the psychologist won’t break the silence, instead they wait for you to start unloading again. It’s also normal for your mind to go blank when they ask what brought you here today, overcome this by making a few notes in your phone beforehand about what you want to discuss.
You’ll feel hung over by the end of it
Yep, be prepared to feel worn out after your session. The unleashing of emotion and analytical style of conversation regarding how you feel about each aspect of your life is mentally exhausting. That’s why it’s best if you can schedule your appointment in the late afternoon so you can go home and crawl into bed after. But if you have to go in the morning don’t go on a day when you have a lot going on afterwards. I had no choice but to go in the morning so I bought a block of Lindt chocolate and went to a midday movie so that the day wasn’t a complete bomb. (Even though I don’t remember anything that happened in that movie it was the perfect distraction at the time).
You will cry a river (Kim Kardashian style, but it’s a good thing!)
You’ll start noticing all the tissue boxes in the room if the therapist hasn’t already moved them closer to you. Even the most guarded people can be cracked in therapy. Don’t try to hold it in, especially if you’ve been suppressing tears for a while, let it out you’ll feel better for it.
You might hate your therapist
I loved my therapist, she was gentle and warm. But many of my friends despised who they’d been lumped with for an uncomfortable 45 minutes. Without downplaying their feelings, this happens because we go in thinking we’re meant to be making an emotional connection but our therapist isn’t our friend so be open minded and remember they’re to a facilitate a conversation about yourself. Obviously if you’re getting really bad vibes and not feeling better for being there then try another therapist. Don’t let it deter you!
The material published on this blog is intended for general information only and is not professional/medical/legal advice.
Words by Jennifer Aitken