I’ve never been to therapy before. What is the process like?

Professional therapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the therapist and client, and the particular concerns you are experiencing. There are many different methods your therapist may use to deal with the concerns you hope to address. Therapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for a very active effort on your part. It might even include other important people in your life. Therapy can be more successful as you work on goals and strategies at home that you have talked about during sessions.

Therapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy may involve discussing unpleasant experiences of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, therapy has also been shown to have many benefits. Successful therapy can lead to more satisfaction in relationships, new possibilities for addressing specific problems, and/or reductions in feelings of distress. 

Sessions 1, 2, & 3
The first session is a chance for you to tell your story and to make sure your therapist is a good fit for your needs.  The therapist will be assessing your goals and your situation to figure out the best way of helping you and ensure a good fit for you. Our therapists have different specialties and it’s critical you’re working with an expert who is familiar with the issues you’re struggling with. Please do not expect a lot of suggestions or change to happen in the first couple of sessions. The therapist must gather enough information before beginning treatment to provide the most effective treatment.

Session 4
By session 4, treatment begins. At this stage, you will see significant engagement from the therapist, a plan for moving forward, and you soon after you should start seeing progress. If you’re not seeing any progress by session #5 you should talk to your therapist about this. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your therapist, please call us at 612-787-2832.

When Treatment Goals Are Met
Once treatment goals have been met, you and your therapist will determine if there are other goals you’d like to meet, or if moving into maintenance and cutting back on the frequency of meeting would make sense at this point. Most folks are coming to therapy once or twice a month at this stage.

Completing Therapy
After you’ve been able to meet your goals and maintain your progress, therapy terminates. But you are always welcome to come back and we hope you do. Most clients think of maintaining their mental health the way they maintain their teeth– regular care at home and just coming in every 6 months or a year for a ‘check-up’. If everything is good, we’ll send you on your way again. If we need to brush up on some skills, come in for a few sessions more. It won’t take nearly as long this time since you likely already know the skills and just need some aid in utilizing them.