If you have never been to a therapist before, you may wonder what a therapy session looks like. In the first session we do an intake to obtain more information about what is going on in your life and what you are struggling with. Then we will find out what your goals are for therapy. After that we will come up with a game plan to help you get there. In addition, sometimes it helps to just talk with someone who is not emotionally involved in the situation. This can help you make sense of things.
I have many tools to teach that many people find helpful. There are some things that I tend to share with many clients. Below are several of them. If you like these, you may want to go back and look at last weeks blog called Pearls of Wisdom. In that blog, I share several other tools from a therapy session.
Tools from a therapy session
If you are sad because something bad happened, or you are experiencing a loss, it doesn’t mean you are depressed. It means that it is normal sadness. For some reason people think that it isn’t OK to be sad. Sadness is a normal human feeling and from time to time we will all feel it.
Women are known for what John Gottman refers to as ‘harsh start up.’ When we talk to our partner we tend to just barrel in to what we are not happy about. It’s important that we learn how to soften what we want to say. If not, we will scare our partner away and shut them down.
You can get just about whatever you want in life based on how you ask for it. You want to start with an ‘I’ statement, state your feeling and then state your positive need that is not being met. This certainly doesn’t mean that you will get all your needs met, but most of them. It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is that the other person will say no. If you don’t ask, it’s a definite no. Remember, it’s not what you are saying, but how you are saying it.
Differences in way information is processed
People process things at different speeds. Often times one person in the partnership wants to talk about things right away when there is conflict, as a way to reduce their anxiety. The other person may need time to think or process things. Both styles have pros and cons. What is important is that each person can get their needs met. So if you are the person who likes to process things, let your partner know that you need 30 minutes (or however much time you think you need to process what is going on, so you can respond the best way possible). If you are the partner, then give him or her the amount of time they need.
If you are the person that wants to discuss things right away, you will need to find something to do to reduce your anxiety in that time period. Then go back and discuss the issue. Often times the person who is the fast processor is frustrated with the person who needs time, or think the other person doesn’t care. This is not true, it’s just that they cannot think straight when they are anxious and need more time to process. If you pester them while they are thinking, they will continue to need more time.
Your gut is your best guide. When deciding if you should or shouldn’t do something, listen to your gut. People can give you advice all day long, but you have to trust your gut. Deep down you probably already know what you should do and are just looking for confirmation. No one knows what it’s like to be you on the inside, only you do. So do what you think is best for you.
When an affair occurs, often times people want to blame the person who cheated. However we don’t know how that person is being treated in their primary relationship. An affair is not the problem within itself; it’s a symptom of the problem.
Meaning of a therapy session
Just because you come to therapy does not mean you are crazy. Life is hard and all of us could use someone to talk to who isn’t emotionally involved in the situation. It can help you make sense of things.
Those who go to therapy are not weak. It is just the opposite. It takes courage to be vulnerable and share your struggles with someone else. In addition, it means you have insight into yourself and recognize you are not functioning in the way you want.
Therapy takes time. You didn’t get to where you are overnight and you won’t change overnight either. Recognizing you are doing something that isn’t helpful is the first step to change.
Sometimes therapy is 2 steps forward 1 step back.
I hope this helps you better understand some of the things we talk about in a therapy session. Of course there are many other things that I share, based on what is going on with you. Each therapy session is different, it is not a one size fits all model. If I can help you out, please give me a call 713-304-6554.