So You’re Thinking About Seeing a Therapist…
By the time you contact us for more information about counseling, chances are you’ve already tried hard to solve your problems. We respect the work you’ve done on your own and are honored that you are considering us for additional help.
You may be worried about finding the right therapist and may even wonder if therapy can help. That’s perfectly normal! It can be a little scary to think about opening up to a total stranger, and it’s important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable.
There are some things you can do to increase the likelihood that you will find a good therapist and that therapy will work for you. First of all, make sure that the person you are thinking of seeing is a licensed mental health professional or working towards their license and supervised by a licensed professional. All NYFS Mental Health Counseling Center therapists meet one of these requirements.
Once you have assured yourself that your potential therapist has basic qualifications, it’s time to schedule your first appointment. You will be asked many questions by the person who schedules your appointment – but don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own! It’s okay to ask about the qualifications and backgrounds of our therapists. The more you tell us about what you are looking for, the better able we are to suggest someone who will be a good fit. You can also download part of the new client intake packet here and fill it out before your first visit.
When you see your therapist for the first time, pay close attention to how you feel talking with him/her. Do you feel comfortable being open? Do you feel like he/she ‘really gets you?’ Does your body relax, or does it tense up? Therapy can be hard work and it can make you uncomfortable at times, so taking time to build up a sense of trust with your therapist is vital.
Once you feel comfortable with your therapist, there are some things you can do to help make this process more effective. Research shows that 40% of the effectiveness of therapy is due to ‘client factors.’ These include attending regular appointments, willingness to be open with the therapist and willingness to listen to suggestions and try new things. Research suggests that if therapy is going well, clients can see some change within 6-8 sessions. Try to be open to observations that the therapist makes even if that makes you uncomfortable. Change is hard and it can be scary. But it is your therapist’s job to suggest new ways of thinking about a situation. Finally, try out suggestions that your therapist makes. Part of therapy is experimenting with new ways of doing things.
We hope these ideas will help you understand and fully participate in the therapeutic process. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 651-486-3808 in Shoreview or 651-429-8544 in White Bear Lake. You can also request an appointment online.