3 Things to Expect From Your Therapist (From a Therapist)
-Ally Nelson, LCSW
Therapy can feel nerve wracking. There are plenty of unknowns which can really trigger anxious thoughts and feelings. Here's 3 things you can expect from your therapist, which will hopefully decrease some of your stress in starting the therapeutic process.
What to expect: 1. Unconditional positive regard
2. Challenging thought patterns and behaviors
3. Connection and care
Unconditional Positive Regard
Your therapist will always think the best of you. It’s part of our job. We accept you just as you are. You never need to earn your therapists approval or prove that you’re enough. We know you’re enough exactly as you are, always. No matter what!
*If your therapist is unable to provide you with unconditional positive regard be sure to find one that can. Therapist’s are humans with their own inherent biases just like anyone else (although we really work to prevent this from affecting our practice), if you aren’t clicking that’s okay! Find someone you feel safe with where you’re able to be your authentic self.
Challenging Thought Patterns and Behaviors
An important role your therapist provides is to challenge you. We are able to keep an objective perspective and assist you in identifying insights you may have been unaware of. You can expect that your therapist will question your thoughts. This isn’t to create self doubt, but rather to increase your self awareness and teach you how you can challenge yourself in the same way.
Thoughts are not facts and when we challenge these patterns we’re able to make changes! Your therapist is able to look at your situation with logic because they aren’t actively experiencing your pain in the way that you are. This is part of what you’re coming to therapy for! To get new insights and ideas that ultimately help you start feeling better.
Connection and Care
The most important part of therapy is the rapport and connection you feel with your therapist. You need to feel like you are safe to be vulnerable. Your therapist will take time to create a connection with you through finding common interests, providing empathy, and that good ol’ unconditional positive regard.
You can also expect that your therapist will care about you. It makes me sad when I hear “you only care about me because I’m paying you”. Nope. I care about you because I’m human. I care about you because I see your pain and understand your story. Therapists care because you deserve to be cared about. You matter and we’ll help you start to believe it.
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