What to Expect When Going to Psychotherapy for the First Time
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You are doing the right thing by getting help for your mental health condition. However, do not be ashamed of being scared to go into a treatment plan. When you are planning a treatment program and are looking for licensed mental health professionals and resources, you may feel overwhelmed. Finding the right therapist and psychotherapy program for you may take time, but it is worth it in the end.
If you are unsure as to where to start when it comes to finding the right psychotherapy treatment program, there is help. Engaging in conversations with clinics such as Alter Wellness Care, you can begin your search with professional resources. These resources can be your guide to getting the help you need.
Psychotherapy can be intimidating if you have never been to a session or are starting off with a therapist for the first time. Whether this is your first-time attending psychotherapy or your first time with a new therapist, there are things you can do prior to your appointment. Preparing for your first psychotherapy appointment will help you relax and be confident going into a session.
What Is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, refers to multiple treatment programs that help you cope with and manage your symptoms. The remarkable thing about psychotherapy is that it treats a variety of mental health conditions and disorders. It is often the first step before receiving alternative treatments for your mental health.
There are many different psychotherapy programs for you to choose from. Also, there may be multiple reasons why you decide to attend psychotherapy. Some of the reasons may be:
- Relief from dealing with stress from your job, loss of a loved one, relationships, or family problems
- Trying to cope with symptoms that have no physical explanation, such as changes in sleep or appetite, low energy levels, lack of motivation, persistent irritability, little to no interest in activities that you find pleasurable, excessive worry, irrational obsessions, paranoia, or feeling hopelessness or worthless, feeling suicidal
- Changes in mood or trouble concentrating
- A medical doctor diagnosing you with a mental condition that is interfering with your life
- Supporting a family member who has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or condition
A crucial step to take before going into psychotherapy is to talk to a doctor about your symptoms. They may be able to rule out any physical symptoms that could be the cause of your current state of health. Some symptoms like mood changes or low energy levels could be the result of a physical condition.
Attending Psychotherapy for the First Time
If you have decided to attend psychotherapy because of your symptoms or at the recommendation of your doctor, give yourself some credit. It is not always an easy decision to get help from a therapist. Taking the first steps to help you live a healthier and happier life is a decision that can make all the difference.
There are multiple psychotherapeutic programs you can choose from. Often, your psychotherapist will help you choose which one will work best for you. It is important to note that finding the right program or therapist may take time. Do not be alarmed if the first program or therapist you try isn’t the right one for you. There are many options and resources to guide you in the right direction.
One-On-One Talk Therapy
The most common form of therapy, talking in a private setting with a therapist, can be a way of talking about your deepest problems and concerns. This kind of therapy will teach you the necessary skills you need to cope with and manage your symptoms in a healthier way.
The therapist may also help you by going through techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy to help reduce stress. If you just want to talk or overcome trauma, a therapist is there to listen and care.
Group therapy is slightly different than one-on-one talk therapy. In a group setting, you will have the opportunity to share your story and listen to others. The therapist will guide the group and then teach interpersonal skills that will help participants manage their symptoms in a healthier way.
This kind of psychotherapy can be useful to those in recovery or those with different mental health conditions. It provides a supportive environment for those seeking more relatable support around them.
What to Expect From Your Therapist and Program
When you go into psychotherapy, it is essential to try to prepare yourself to talk about your symptoms. It is also important to recognize that your therapist is there to listen and to talk to you about how their treatment works.
There are steps you can take to prepare yourself before going in to see a therapist, including:
- Writing down questions you have for the therapist
- Taking notes on symptoms you are currently experiencing
- Being prepared to fill out paperwork and sign a HIPPA agreement
- Keeping the mindset that your therapist is there to help you
- Remembering that if the therapist you see does not fit or work for you, you do not have to schedule another appointment
- Giving therapy a chance before considering alternative options
When you enter your initial appointment, the therapist may have questions about your current medical condition, your family history of mental health, and what you expect to gain from attending psychotherapy. Do not be alarmed by these questions. This is done to help the therapist get to know you better and ensure they can help treat you properly.
In the next few appointments, you will have the chance to share and talk to your therapist. It will take some time for you to get to know each other, whether in a one-on-one or group setting, so patience is required. However, once you have a treatment program that works for you, it will all be worth it.
Are you considering adding psychotherapy to your treatment plan? Our team at Alter Wellness Care can provide you with the resources you need to get started. Our outpatient programs, such as CBT and DBT, have successfully helped our clients cope with and manage their symptoms in a healthier way. Our mission is to help you learn the skills you need to live a more fulfilling life, even with a mental health condition or while in recovery. We are here to help you find a program and therapist that works best for you and are always available to take your questions. Give our team a call at (866) 311-3510 to learn more about our programs.
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