Even though we have immensely progressed in the field of Science, Arts and Technology, somehow we’ve not come very far when it comes to seeking professional help through a therapist.
For many people, going to therapy sounds very scary, while for others who do want to give it a try are often entangled with how their parents or close family members would react if they want to reach out to someone professionally. People either feel absolutely judged by their peers, family members or are looked down upon, felt “weak” for doing the same… while in other cases, they are scared to approach a therapist and find the thought of the process quite overwhelming…
So let me start with how your feelings, your physical as well as emotional well-being is quite important! And what people don’t realise is how both these things go hand in hand. For example, you cannot disassociate your heart from your brain, right? Similarly, your physical state compliments your mental/emotional well-being and vice versa! If you’re feeling absolutely lazy, it might be because you’re on the verge of a burn out! As important as it is to visit a doctor when you’re physically injured, it is equally important to reach out for help when you feel emotionally saturated, annoyed or upset with the simplest of things and find it quite overwhelming to deal with your daily activities!
So here are some things to keep in mind before starting Therapy!
- What is the Therapist’s general approach towards their clients
Different therapists have different ways of dealing with their clients. Some might be very active, constantly giving your tasks to work on while the others might be passive. There are two ways to this
- Therapists who work around “Cognitive Behavioral therapy” tend to be goal-oriented, quite active and very collaboratively, with their client. They will help you set some goals for yourself and then provide you with tools to work on it together.
- While “person-centered therapy” is when the therapist usually avoids offering any techniques or tools and instead offers an approach that will help you find solutions from within.
Neither is wrong or right, but it entirely depends on what you’re looking for and what helps you in the long run!
- Do you feel that you can trust your therapist?
At the end of the day, there is a relationship between you and your therapist, definitely a formal one but there is one that develops over a period. It is important to work with someone who you can respect, trust and feel vulnerable in front of. Therapy isn’t sunshine and roses, it often requires facing difficult situations and patterns and hence it is important to have respect and trust with one another. With that being said, a therapist isn’t and cannot be your friend! There has to be a boundary where you acknowledge professionalism but also work collaboratively to change your life for the better!
- It is important to know your therapist degree and their experience
When you visit a new doctor, you always search them on google to know more about their degree and how much experience they carry, so why not be sure before approaching a therapist too right? Although therapists are licensed to treat a variety of clients, that doesn’t guarantee that they’re great at what they do! And if you feel confused, it is also okay to ask the therapist if they’re equipped to deal with issues that you have and how much experience do they carry.
- Knowing your therapist’s availability!
We never ever consider this factor while choosing a therapist! Certain issues require more attention and might require more time and energy from a particular therapist and hence it is of utmost importance to know your therapist’s availability and if they wof be able to provide you with enough time to help you.
Some indicators to know if your therapist is the right fit for you!
- You start feeling comfortable around them, albeit with healthy boundaries
Your comfort level is of utmost importance in order for your healing to occur. You cannot expect to heal and work with someone, if you’re not comfortable and honest around them! The quality of a relationship between the client and the therapist is the best indicator of effective therapy. At the same time, level of professionalism and being able to maintain healthy boundaries is as important!
- You don’t feel ashamed about sharing
Therapy isn’t always nice, most of the time it requires confrontation, acknowledging, accepting your patterns and working around the uncomfortable emotions! In order to heal and get better, it is important to have a safe space with your therapist where you feel quite comfortable.
- You feel heard!
The biggest red flag that a therapist can have is, not actually listening to what you have to say. Feeling heard is absolutely important because the reason why many choose to go for therapy is to be truly understood, in order to get better and that would only happen when you have a non-judgmental ear.
- You feel validated
It is necessary that your therapist validates your emotions, be it joy or sadness, guilt or fear… this doesn’t necessarily mean that they agree with everything that you say or do, but validation is more about acknowledging and accepting the emotions
- They check in with you
You might have a tough time trying to get more comfortable with your therapist in the beginning or you might be wondering if this therapy is genuinely working out for you or not…hence it is important for a therapist to have frequent check-ins. They usually would ask you if you’re liking the process, if it comforts you or if they should adapt to some other ways that might benefit you more!
- You start noticing a change in yourself
Meaningful change takes a lot of time and consistency. Some therapy might take more time as compared to others but with that being said, you start noticing tiny changes within a month or two of your therapy. This is a green flag for sure!
- They challenge you to get better
Even though they build a safe space for you, they don’t stop there. They might provide you with tasks to decode your irrational patterns and to deal with them, in a more rational way and that might be quite challenging! This is a great way to help you grow.
- They give you the tools to work with
Therapy has never been a one-sided thing. It is a collaborative work between the therapist and the client. Seeking help is the first step but you have to consistently and constantly show up to the rest of the work as well. Their work is to provide you with tools, resources and support you, but the rest lies in your hand!