Welcome, I am so glad you are here.
The decision to begin counseling can bring on a number of feelings for a person. It is a vulnerable choice to reach out and ask for help. Once you find a therapist you would like to work with, you may be finding yourself asking..."now what?"
In my time as a therapist, there are a three "ingredients" that I have observed to be essential for getting the most out of the experience.
1. Vulnerability: everyone's favorite thing, right?!? So, the bad news....therapy requires a bit of vulnerability. The good news...once you can learn to lean into vulnerability in therapy, it will work magic in your everyday life.
If you don't want to take my word for it, I encourage you to check out the work of Dr. Brene Brown, whose research is a game changer.
So, what do I mean by "vulnerability" you ask? Vulnerability presents itself in a number of ways in counseling. It may mean diving into uncomfortable topics, sharing painful memories and emotions. It may look like being assigned some "homework" outside of therapy to try that yoga class that you have been looking at for years, but feeling too nervous to try. It could mean speaking your truth more often, out loud, to your friends, family, and partners, in a compassionate, kind and supportive way. Perhaps it means that you start a new hobby, healthy habit, or routine. It looks different for everyone, but is an essential for success in your treatment.
2. Commitment: This is a big one! Therapy is a commitment, it's a decision to show up for yourself...and not just at your appointment time. I mean really SHOW UP.
Yes, as the therapist, I am "working." However, when you decide to commit to therapy, you are required to do much of the work, with the support and guidance of the helper you have chosen. Believe me, if I could invent the magic wand that could heal all pain...I would do it in a heartbeat, but until then, we will go about it the hard way (read as: the more meaningful, enriching, life-changing, honest, fun (?), emotional...you get the idea).
3. Self-Care: Whew, another biggie! It is important to wrap your mind around the idea that starting therapy means that you will be taking better care of yourself. And I am not saying "self care" in the sense that I will prescribe you to go out and get massages and take lavish vacations every week (although, do you if you can!). What I am really talking about here is the CHOICE to take care of the self, everyday.
I have observed and personally experienced that when a person is struggling, it is the little things that go by the wayside. I'm talking about stopping your workout routine, not cleaning your home, skipping a few showers....ya, seriously...it happens. This isn't just a problem for obvious reasons...but it can further push a person down a spiral of depression, anxiety, pain, and discomfort.
In order to see measurable changes, and make the most of your time in therapy, it is best to start caring for the self. It is something I encourage early on in treatment, so that the work can be supported outside of the office.
So, that's it. The three essential ingredients to get the most out of your therapy. I recognize that all of those are HARD, but I also know that when you lean into the challenge, it makes all the difference.
If you are interested in starting your therapy journey, I would be happy to walk alongside you. Contact me and lets see if we would be a good fit!