Three Things to Consider When Starting Therapy

Therapy can bring positive changes to a person's life that last a lifetime. Here are three suggestions to help make your decision a more powerful and meaningful.

First, consider if you really have to want to change whatever is causing you pain. You might think, "Well, of course I do!” But it is not that clear cut. Are you willing to look at the ways you have coped with difficult situations that are not really working for you? This can be a little scary! You may find that habitual ways of seeing the world, while unproductive and satisfying, are still familiar and comfortable. Do you want to give these up?

My second suggestion is that you be willing to be frank with your therapist and most importantly to yourself. How do you think you have gotten to the place you are in today? How are feelings affecting the quality of your life? Who in your past has shaped the way you see the world? Questions like these can have many layers of truth. You may not be able to immediately understand how you tick, but the importance elements of your story will reveal themselves to you at the right time. A good therapist will be sensitive to your pace. You may discover that letting someone truly know you can be not only a major relief, but a turning point in your life.

Thirdly, spend some time finding the right therapist to work with. Is the therapist you contact willing to talk to you on the phone first to help you decide if their personality, training and style feel like a good fit for you? Do they seem kind? Can they listen? After a session, do you leave a therapist's office feeling better than when you walked in? Trust grows from a good relationship, and therapy is about being very real.

When therapy works, it is a powerful healing tool that allows you to see beyond your present circumstances. It can be an experience that not only enlivens your thinking and feeling, but gives one the kind of hope, clarity and connectedness you need to live life more fully. Therapy is a unique relationship like none other, and trust grows when therapy feels right.