Couch Conversations: What to Expect from Therapy and What Therapy Expects from You
We know that making the decision to go to therapy could be intimidating. Oftentimes, there are a lot of unknowns about what the therapeutic process looks like and how to get help. This could be enough to lead most people away from trying to find a therapist to work with. At Couch Conversations Psychotherapy and Counseling, we want there to be complete clarity on what to expect in all phases of the therapeutic process and let you know that you are not alone in your journey.
All of our Couch Conversations psychotherapists want to get to know their clients as best as possible in order to provide the highest quality of care. Your initial contact will start with a brief phone consultation so that we could get to know your situation a little better. During that phone call, we will ask you to discuss some important information about what has been bothering you lately. We want to get an understanding of what symptoms you have been experiencing lately, what stressors you are managing, and how this is impacting your day to day life. These questions are for informational purposes only so that our Couch Conversations therapists get an understanding of who you are and whether our training and expertise matches your needs.
During this initial phone call, you will also learn a little bit more about Couch Conversations including our availability, scheduling and fees. If you and the psychotherapist find that you are not the right match for continuing therapy, don't worry! We will try our best to link you with other therapists in the community who we think would work well with you. Again, you are not alone in this process!
Once you set up your appointment, your therapist will send you some paperwork to fill out electronically. When you first meet your therapist either in person or online, you will be introduced to the process of therapy and what to expect in the upcoming weeks. All of our therapists start with an assessment of your symptoms, a history about your background and relevant experiences leading to your current situation. After a thorough evaluation process, you and your therapist will discuss whether or not the meeting has been a good match for you and will proceed to the next phase which includes treatment planning.
Your therapist will work in collaboration with you to develop a treatment plan. A treatment plan includes the therapeutic goals you will work on in treatment. Treatment plans are tailored to each specific person and are what guides the treatment. Examples of treatment plans include reducing your symptoms, deeper exploration of feelings, challenging unhelpful thought patterns, or addressing communication issues in your relationship.
Once you have completed your initial appointment, which includes the assessment and developed a treatment plan with your psychotherapist, the next phase of therapy begins. During this middle phase, you and your Couch Conversations psychotherapist are working toward meeting your treatment goals (the ones that you and your therapist collaborated on). This phase of therapy is what most people think of when they think of therapy. It is the part that includes a deeper look at your thoughts and feelings and finding ways of getting closer to who you want to be.
Truth be told, at this phase, it isn't just what you expect from therapy, but what therapy expects of you. Therapy is a lot of hard work, and if you are willing to put in that hard work, you will likely start to get closer and closer to your treatment goals. This includes not only doing the work during your therapy sessions, but also continuing to engage in reflection, writing down your thoughts, and giving yourself time to do the homework assigned to you over the course of the week prior to your upcoming therapy appointment.
The expectation that therapy holds of you at this point in treatment is your willingness and commitment to continue to face your problems head on. It is your desire to identify that there are some changes that could be made to your thoughts, improvements in the way you relate to people, or how you could better communicate with others. This will require building awareness of how these behaviors have been playing a role in your life, and asking yourself, "Am I ready to make this change?" If not, "What is holding me back?"
At times, people know that there are different factors that they would like to change about themselves or their life situation. But when they come face to face with those issues in therapy sessions, they start to back away from the process. It's okay if you are not fully ready to face these problems and make those changes. Everyone has their own process and their own time and maybe it's not the right time for you to start your therapeutic journey.
Once you get through the middle phase of therapy and have been working with your Couch Conversations psychotherapist for some time, you will likely reach a point where you and your therapist believe that you are ready to continue your journey on your own, or with other supportive people in your life. This is a conversation that you will have with your therapist and will work in collaboration with them to determine when therapy services should come to an end. This is the last phase of the Couch Conversations therapeutic process.
As therapy starts to wrap up, you will go through a review of the skills you have learned, and how you can utilize those skills as needed as you continue through the course of your life experiences. It is hard to say how long it will take you to reach this last phase. Every single person has different challenges they are dealing with and so everyone concludes their process on their own timeline. The end of therapy does not guarantee that you will no longer have life stress or problems to deal with. It just is a representation that now you have learned the skills and tools necessary to manage those life stressors and can learn to practice those on your own, instead of with your therapist. When therapy concludes, you have officially graduated from treatment.
Couch Conversations Psychotherapy and Counseling wants to give people the skills to get to their full potential in life. We work in collaboration with you and take things at your own pace. Don't let the fear of reaching out for help stop you anymore. As we mentioned, we know the process could feel very intimidating and scary, but you are not alone, and we can help guide you through your journey. We hope this article has helped you learn more about what to expect from therapy and how therapy can help you. If you are ready to start your healing journey, please contact us for more information.