Over a quarter of adults have gone to therapy at some point in their lives, with over 80 per cent finding it effective and helpful! But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s scary as hell and it can leave you floundering in the water for what to do with all those emotions. With that said, here are 10 things you learn when you go to therapy for the first time.
1. The first session is terrifying
Walking into that building, and then that room is unbelievably scary. But the first session will be a lot of getting to know each other: the main thing with having a therapist is that you have a mutual trust which makes it so much easier to talk. It sounds impossible, but try to relax, they really are nice people.
2. You have to talk…a lot
Well, you don’t have to. Some people start off quite quiet! But the important thing is that if you feel that you can then you should! Talk all you like, the more you reveal the easier it is to help you.
3. Don’t feel like anything is ‘unimportant’
If it pops into your mind, then it clearly stayed with you. It doesn’t matter how small it seems, just say whatever you want! There are no rules for therapy.
4. You won’t feel the positive effects straight away
It’s not a miracle cure. These things take time and practice, so don’t expect to walk out of your first session of an hour feeling like a new person, just give it a chance and trust the process.
5. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better
You sometimes have to drag up a lot of trauma and stuff that is uncomfortable. It might have to get worse before it gets better because of all the memories you’re talking about and have maybe been repressing. Trust the process!
6. You don’t have to stick with just one therapist
Not every therapist is right for everyone. It’s okay to go to trial sessions and decide who you feel most comfortable with and trust the most and then try to pursue that. Some people go through 5 different therapists before finding the one they stick with, and that’s healthy and also totally fine.
7. There’s no shame in going
I don’t care what the school bully said in year 6. When you’re an adult, doing adult things is good for you. And an adult thing includes taking care of yourself. You don’t have to tell everyone, but you don’t have to keep it a secret either. Chances are people either won’t care or be supportive.
8. It’s okay to take mental health breaks
From everything. Work, friends, chores, life. Not all the time, but the occasional day here and there won’t hurt anyone and would do your mind the world of good.
9. Sometimes you cry, sometimes you don’t, and that’s okay
People tend to have this image that therapy is when you daintily cry and dab your eyes while talking about the childhood trauma you’ve kept in for decades. Truth is, it can be anything. For me, it’s often floods of tears and talking about what happened in my week and learning how to deal with things better.
10. It’s on your terms
You don’t have to do what anyone else says! Therapy is a totally unique experience and your experience doesn’t have to match up to anyone else’s. Embrace the experience as best you can.
So those are the 10 things you learn when you go to therapy for the first time. Have you been to therapy? What did you learn? Let us know down below!
Featured image: https://unsplash.com/photos/BuNWp1bL0nc
Hi! My name is Ellie and I live in London. Currently in university studying journalism, I love all things writing and theatre and spend a lot of my time seeing shows on the West End.