Contrary to the way therapy is often depicted in movies and television, it does not simply consist of talking while a psychologist listens and asks vague questions. Therapy involves preparation, trust, and a mutual willingness between both therapist and patient to work hard and communicate openly. Once you have decided to consult a therapist, the first step in preparing is to find the right one. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers can all offer therapy, and many specialize in specific areas. Research to find several options in your area, then call to ask questions and get an idea of their personality and experience to see which seems like the best fit for you. Don’t hesitate to keep looking until you find someone you feel comfortable with, as a good relationship with your therapist can be a determining factor in the success of your experience.
Before your first appointment, think about what you hope to accomplish overall with your therapy. Write down your goals to discuss with the therapist, as well as any other initial questions and concerns you may have. For each additional session, think about what topics you would like to discuss beforehand. Be prepared to work hard during your time in therapy. You may be given homework to complete between appointments, and it is important to do so in order to get the most out of your sessions. Lastly, be prepared to stick with therapy as suggested by your counselor. It can be hard work that brings up uncomfortable topics, but it requires commitment in order to achieve results.
Michael Winters is a Psychologist in Houston focusing on marriage counseling and therapy. Michael received his PhD from the University of Memphis and has been practicing since 1991.