Whether someone is making an independent choice to go to psychotherapy, or a loved one is encouraging them to go, they will always come to their first session with some misconceptions. Part of it is that most people are outsiders to the mental health field, and therefore hold some ideas that are not true. Holding such ideas can be a hurdle to successfully beginning or sticking with psychotherapy. People see something on TV or film, and they form conceptualizations and expectations based on that. And while most rational people are perfectly capable of recognizing fact from fiction, they don’t always make the distinction that what they’re viewing might be distorted or damaging depiction of a mental health professional. When you approach your treatment with an open mind, you’ll see greater results. The following are some common but misguided expectations about psychotherapy to leave behind.
It’s Not A Quick Fix
There is no such thing as a single session fix. Except for some very limited problems, psychotherapy requires some sort of commitment. It takes several appointments for the therapist to determine what kind of therapy would be useful to their clients. It’s not a one size fits all scenario.
It’s Not Easy
Psychotherapy is a lot of hard work, for you and your therapist. It will require you to be uncomfortable and take a hard look at yourself. And it’s very likely that you’ll feel worse before you feel better. In the long run, if you give yourself and the process the time it needs, it will give way to something better.
The Therapist Is Not Your Friend
Talking to a therapist is not the same as talking to a friend. The relationship you will develop with your therapist will not be a reciprocal one. She will set limits about how much of herself she reveals to you; however, you will have to reveal your most personal matters to her. All that being said, it is very reasonable to expect a structured approach to your therapy, and trying out different techniques until you find the right fit. You can absolutely expect confidentiality from your therapist, and for them to guide you in the best way possible. Finally, if you don’t find the right therapist on the first try, keep looking. You should expect to do the best for you and your recovery.
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