Health Insights

What is Therapy Really Like?

We think everyone could use a little therapy! Not sure what to expect? If it’s your first time, here’s what you can anticipate.

When you think of therapy, do you picture yourself laying on a sofa with a stuffy man, with glasses and clipboard staring you down? Or reading inkblot pictures, while someone judges your responses? This is not at all what therapy is about, although a sofa might be present! If you think you might want to talk to someone about things in your like, here’s what you can expect.

Every therapist is different, and the work done with that therapist will be unique to you and the issues you want to address. What is discussed in therapy depends on your goals and the preferred methods and modalities your therapist works in. Therapy can involve talking about anything that comes into your mind and connecting these thoughts and behaviors to patterns stemming from your childhood or events in your life. Or, therapy can be more action or goal-based where together, you will work towards addressing and changing behavioral responses to specific situations. Lastly, therapy can be about addressing in-the-moment thoughts and feelings that come up when you are in distressing situations.

Every therapist’s goal is to help you address challenging situations, difficult emotions, and negative behaviors that prevent you moving forward in your life. At times, therapy will feel fruitful, as you are gaining insight and awareness into your thoughts and emotions. Other times, therapy will be uncomfortable, as it will bring you closer to sensitive subjects and realizations that may challenge deeply held beliefs.

During therapy, you are encouraged to speak exactly what you are feeling – with total honesty and little inhibition. You do not need to censor yourself. The therapist is there to really listen to you and to do so without judgement or consequence.

As you move through sessions with your therapist, you will begin to experience a series of small breakthroughs. You will begin to uncover strengths and learn new skills. As you being to gain more confidence in yourself through insight and awareness, you may begin to deal with challenges in new, more adaptive ways as they come up in your life.

Remember there is no magic pill and change will not happen overnight, therefore multiple sessions are recommended. Therapy is an incremental process so be patient with yourself and with your therapist.

The First Appointment:

The first appointment can be a little awkward. You are both strangers to each other and you are preparing to speak about sensitive and personal matters. Pay attention to how the therapist makes you feel throughout the session – do you start to feel even more awkward or does the conversation become more organic? Were you counting down the minutes or did you session seem to fly by? Did you feel supported and hopeful?

Do you think the therapist was able to develop a good rapport with you – did you feel like you were starting to build a positive, trusting and working relationship with the therapist? It may take a while to find a good fit for someone that works for you.

Where To Begin:

The therapist will ask you for your goals of therapy. It is okay if you do not have an answer to this right away. Mention this to your therapist. Openly discuss what is bothering you and what you would like to be different in your life. The therapist will be only as effective as you are open. While it their job to guide you, it is your job to be equally involved in your change.

To understand different techniques your therapist may use, check out our next article about types of therapy and the different types of therapists. Feel ready to talk to someone?

Book at appointment today with our psychiatrists, psychologists, and counsellors at Veera!

Reviewed by

Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD/MBA, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

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