Mental Health

Therapy

Mandy Kloppers

What happens in a therapy session

The idea of speaking to a complete stranger can be very daunting for many people. You might worry that you will be judged or feel uncomfortable. If you have never been to therapy, it’s completely normal to fear the unknown and feel apprehensive. What happens in a therapy session is fairly straightforward.

Trained therapists will put you at ease

Therapists and counsellors are trained to put you at ease and warmly welcome you. Think of a therapist as an ally in your life. Someone who wants the best for you and who will do their best to support you during your therapy sessions. Therapists aren’t there to judge you. Instead, a therapist is skilled at understanding how to help you work through any issues you may have.

The first therapy session is an assessment and discovery phase

During your very first appointment, your therapist will ask you many questions. Questions such as what are the issues that have brought you to therapy? A therapist will want to understand your frame of reference and make sense of your experiences and how you view the world. Are you pessimistic or optimistic? Do you tend to see the negative side of life? Do you worry too much?

A therapist will ask you questions beginning with: “What…when..how…who..where..” The more information you can share, the better able your therapist will be at spotting patterns that aren’t working for you. Do you avoid what you fear or do you challenge yourself? All of these factors will affect the approach the therapist uses. Counselling can be a real godsend when you feel lost and need guidance.

Therapy helps you achieve your potential

Therapy and counselling open up your understanding and broaden your horizons. A skilled therapist provides context and helps you to make links between your behaviour and the causes. If for example, you tend to shut down in relationships, you might find out that it has something to do with the way you were raised. Many negative behaviours stem from our childhoods and help us to be more self-accepting.

Therapy sessions build your confidence and validate your experiences. When you understand that your feelings and actions are normal and find ways to deal with problems, you feel empowered and hopeful. We can’t do everything ourselves and a good therapist will provide the right kind of support to help you overcome problems.

Therapy teaches you self-awareness

A therapy session can illuminate so many characteristics about yourself that you might never have fully acknowledged. Therapy helps you uncover your strengths and weaknesses and helps you play to your strengths and accept your weaknesses with criticism. No one is perfect.

Self-awareness is key to knowing what makes you happy and why it makes you happy. So many people plod through life without this basic understanding.

Counselling shows you how to manage anxiety, depression and other mental health issues

Sometimes our thinking isn’t helpful, especially when we catastrophise, make assumptions without evidence and avoid things we fear. Counselling, especially cognitive behavioural therapy, helps you to manage your thoughts and dismiss the thoughts that create distress. Thoughts aren’t facts and therapy teaches you to learn new ways of thinking that help improve your quality of life.

Labels can be unhelpful and create self-fulfilling prophecies but there are times when a diagnosis helps a person to know what the issue is and what to do about it. A therapist can diagnose issues such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Some therapists specialise in particular mental health issues such as addiction, eating disorders, relationship therapy and so on so it’s helpful to find someone who knows what you need. If your therapist isn’t a specialist, they can always refer to you to someone with expertise in the area you require.

Therapy sessions can change your life for the better

Therapy sessions can change your life in a good way. Who wouldn’t want to be able to talk about themselves and tell someone anything and still be accepted? Therapists know that life is challenging and they have heard so many stories that there is rarely anything you can tell a therapist that would shock them.

If you feel you need to talk to someone, be brave and get in touch with me. I offer online therapy via zoom to every country (time zones permitting).

Give therapy a go and invest in yourself. It could be the best decision you ever made.

Mandy X