It is important that you feel as emotionally and physically safe as possible when you engage in therapy. In order for this to happen, it takes time, patience, vulnerability, and persistence to build trust and get to know one another. Your first few sessions are dedicated more towards information gathering about who you are as a person. Because you are more than the challenges you are trying to address, you'll be asked about your interests, family (both current and past), previous life experiences, and physical health, to name a few. It may feel like you're being asked a lot of questions, and sometimes people report feeling frustrated because, "what does this have to do with why I'm here?" The purpose of this is to help the therapist understand how different areas of your life, past and present, may be contributing, or have contributed, to your current challenges. With a better understanding of who you are, the therapeutic process can be more effectively tailored to meet your needs. You are not required to share anything that is too uncomfortable or overwhelming for you.
Early in the process, with your therapist's help, you will identify both short and long term goals for yourself, which will help to know when, or if, things are changing or getting better. Over time, if nothing is changing for you, there is an opportunity to re-examine how your sessions are approached and consider alternative options to help you make progress. Most of the time, therapy simply feels like a conversation between two people. The therapist will make observations, reflections, and sometimes offer suggestions. You may be asked to complete exercises or practice new skills in between sessions in order to develop new behaviors and beliefs that create positive changes in your life for the long-term.
It's important to understand that therapists have no special powers, do not magically fix problems or give you advice. We contribute our education, training, and experience and ask you to contribute your knowledge, understanding, and experience of the issue. Together we can find a way to help you feel better. If you have concerns or questions about your therapy sessions, either before or during treatment, you are encouraged to share them so that you can get the answers you need to feel confident and satisfied with your services.