Possible concerns before entering therapy


Possible concerns before entering therapy

The tension and uncertainty connected to starting therapy are something completely normal and touch almost every person that decides to attend the first appointment. Many people are not aware of what they should expect during their first time at the therapist’s office. Other patients might feel anxious when attending the first few meetings or they can face feelings of uncertainty and stress later on during therapy when they need to discuss critical problems. This type of anxiety is fully understandable because during therapy patients often share very personal and important details about their lives, which might evoke feelings of vulnerability and be especially overwhelming. There exist numerous factors that determine how high the levels of anxiety might arise. 

Stereotypes about therapy

The approach to therapy has changed drastically these days and I noticed that society is more aware and knowledgeable in this area. It is a completely normal thing that a person who needs help simply asks for it. It is the same thing as in the case of going to a dentist. Therapists work the same way. They help us get rid of something painful – disturbing and negative thoughts, for instance. Sadly, we still face various stereotypes connected to the topic of therapy, for example, there exists a belief that therapy is reserved for people with severe mental conditions. This stereotype spreads a negative picture of a regular person that decides to visit a psychiatrist. In reality, it should be the opposite. The will to solve one’s problems shows that the person is self-aware and mature enough to take action. Especially, when they face issues such as:

  • problems in interactions with other people,
  • the feeling of losing control over one’s emotions,
  • worsening mood or worsening of everyday functioning,
  • tormenting memories,
  • overwhelming fear and scary thoughts,
  • low self-esteem, loneliness, and the feeling of emptiness,

– therapy might be a useful tool for improving everyday functioning.

The need to define the problem

Before attending your first appointment you might feel a sense of confusion and uncertainty. You may face difficulties in understanding what is happening in your inner self and your mentality. It is a natural thought process that is why we often need help from another person when it comes to defining our problems. 

The first few meetings are in a form of consultations, during which the patient’s experienced symptoms are being discussed and the goals of therapy are set. Only after completing that initial stage one can move on to the therapy itself and actively work on solving their problems. 

The fear of judgment doming from the therapist

A therapist is meant to help you, not to judge you or compare you to their other patients. Every psychiatrist is a human being and understands that worsening mood, negative thoughts, or troubled relationships are a standard element of the human condition. Likely, everything that you shared with your therapist is nothing new to them. Your doctor knows that nobody is perfect and that we all have various problems and work to do.  

The fear of sharing intimate information

Every psychiatrist is restricted by professional secrecy. It involves all of the information deriving from therapy sessions as well as the patient’s decision to start therapy. The only exception is a situation of someone’s life or health being in danger (including the patient). Every psychiatrist should have their work supervised and reviewed by another experienced doctor of psychology (the supervisor). During supervision the second doctor does not know the patient’s personal information, so they do not know who is the case about. The court might dismiss the therapist from professional secrecy only when it comes to serious criminal cases. In a situation when the therapist is appointed by a family court or in case of civil affairs, the psychologist can rely on the law of professional secrecy and decline to give evidence.   

We are lucky to live in times when our knowledge in the field of psychology and psychiatry is developed enough for us to solve numerous problems effectively. It is not possible if the patient does not enter therapy willingly. Sadly, similar to the case of somatic diseases, putting one’s mental health on the back burner might lead to their condition getting much worse. That’s why it is especially important to take action at the early stage of a particular disease. When reaching out for help, one should remember that they turn to a person that wants to help us, not judge us in any way.