Appointment - what happens?
If you have decided that therapy is a comfortable option for you, you can contact me telephonically and we will make a time to meet each other. This time slot will be your allocated time for each week. The first two sessions are generally for you to assess whether you feel comfortable working with me and for me to get an idea of your motivations and expectations of therapy.
I will not be sharing details of my life during this process because the therapy is your therapy and this helps to create a space for us to focus on your concerns. This may feel strange at first because this is different in social situations. However, for therapy to work properly the therapist does not share his or her life with the client. Despite this, however, you are invited to share your thoughts and opinions about the therapy process and even your thoughts and feelings about me because this will allow us to explore your inner mental life more fully. I am very open to feedback from you about the process and your experience of it; in fact this can be hugely helpful in your therapy. The reason for this is based on the theory I work with and you can read more about this in the section called more about psychodynamic therapy.
If you feel comfortable to continue we will then focus on exploring what brought you for therapy and more about your life. This process is important because it helps us learn about who you are together and about the context of the concerns that brought you to therapy. My role is to facilitate this learning rather than to give you advice. This adheres to the ethical principle of autonomy which is a belief that you are capable of directing your own life and therapy process. It is very useful in this phase to express anything that comes into your mind in the session so that we can make sense of this together. You may find this strange at first, but it is important to remember that the therapy process is different to a social interaction in that you have the freedom to express all your thoughts whether they are judged by you or others as pleasant or unpleasant or even considered socially unacceptable. All your thoughts are important and valuable and they are the tools we use for further learning about yourself. The therapy space should allow for the expression of any doubts, emotions and questions and it is confidential.
Usually what brings a person for therapy is the symptom or surface level concern. In my experience people who enter therapy for one reason usually find that the initial concern or symptom is not the full concern or it exists in context of other aspects of his or her life that come to the surface during the process of therapy.
The length of therapy can vary. At different points in our lives we experience different developmental challenges and therefore a person can enter therapy at different times in the life cycle. Therapy can help with alleviation of symptoms and some people may choose to stop therapy once the symptom is alleviated. However, for more long lasting prevention of automatic responses to problems longer term therapy can prove more useful. A person may find that they have conflicting feelings about therapy and in therapy all these feelings are valid and important.
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