What to Expect from Therapy
Psychotherapy takes place between a therapist and client who work together in a way that facilitates the acquisition of insight, understanding, problem-solving, and change. During the first few sessions we will discuss your reasons for coming into therapy and the goals you hope to achieve. I will describe the manner in which I work so that you can decide whether it meets your needs. While I sincerely hope that we will work well together, either of us may decide that the “fit” between personality styles or needs isn’t a good one. In that case, I will be happy to refer you to another therapist whom I believe would be more suitable.
Psychotherapy takes a lot of courage and hard work. You may expect some changes in the way you deal with your day to day living as we proceed. You may notice that you become more introverted and that your life style changes considerably in order to make available the time and energy it requires to work on the issues you have chosen to confront. I will make specific recommendations about skills and tasks I think you should work on between sessions. The duration and pace of our work will depend on your individual ability to deal with the stress and anxiety that emerge as you encounter these issues.
Psychotherapy has benefits and risks. Risks sometimes include the experiencing of very uncomfortable kinds and levels of feeling. Sadness, anxiety, anger and frustration, loneliness, and helplessness are usually felt during the course of treatment. They are common feelings many people experience when they face the intrapsychic and interpersonal problems that brought them to therapy. You may remember difficult and unpleasant aspects of your history. However, psychotherapy has been shown to have benefits for those who undertake it. It often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, better problem solving ability and more satisfying relationships.
By the end of four or five sessions I will be able to offer you some initial impressions of the scope of our work, a diagnostic impression, and a preliminary treatment plan. Since therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy it is important that you are clear about your willingness to allot the resources for it. Any time that you have a question, concern, or are uncomfortable with any aspect of the treatment process I think it is essential that you bring it up. It is important that you continue to feel that you are in the “driver’s seat” — i.e., that you are satisfied with the way the treatment is proceeding and want to continue. If you are unhappy with the progress you are making, or the way in which we are working together, and we are unable to resolve the issue, I will be happy to suggest other therapists whom I believe could assist you.