If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness or are going through a tough time, chances are that you’re going through therapy or it’s been suggested that you go to therapy.

That’s great! As you can imagine, we’re big proponents of going to therapy. In today’s blog we’re going to talk about why counseling is so important and things to keep in mind when going to therapy.

First Steps

Therapy can be super scary! We know, not only have we seen clients struggle with coming to therapy but at certain times in our lives, people in our office have struggled as well.

Be Brave

You’re already being courageous by admitting you need help (no shame in that!) so keep up that brave attitude. It’s okay to be scared or nervous, that’s actually the definition of “bravery” — doing something despite fear holding you back. You’re going to therapy to help yourself live a happier life, so screw that courage to the sticking place and let one foot lead the other until you find yourself on the couch.

Be Honest

It’s totally okay to admit that you’re nervous or unsure if therapy will even help. Unlike a car salesman, your therapist is there to help you, not sell you something or keep adding problems to your plate. Do your best to be vulnerable and open to talking and keep in mind that you don’t have to jump right in with your trauma as soon as you sit down. Feel free to talk about your day or your favorite movie or something else light while you get comfortable with your environment.

Be Aware

It’s totally okay and normal to feel uncomfortable at first. Be mindful of who you are and listen to that little voice in your head. If you continue to feel uncomfortable or that little voice tells you stay uneasy, don’t ignore it. That particular therapist might not be for you, but don’t give up on therapy entirely. Just like if you tried on one pair of shoes and they didn’t fit, it would be ridiculous to give up wearing shoes entirely. Just because you saw one therapist and it didn’t work, doesn’t mean you should never pursue therapy again — pursue a new therapist instead.

During Therapy

Sometimes the therapy process can be rough. Of course that’s normal! It’s always painful to grow and learn more about you and those around you. While going through therapy it’s important to keep some of the following in mind.

Be Kind

You’re going to be doing heavy, life-changing work. Don’t be mean to yourself during this time! Think of all the people who love you and think about how they would react if they saw someone treating you the way you’re treating yourself. We bet they probably wouldn’t be too thrilled! A good mantra to repeat to yourself is to take a deep breath and say, “Hey! Be nice to my friend (your first name).”

Be Patient

Not only with others, but be sure to be patient with yourself. Therapy and healing takes time, so don’t rush! Give yourself all the time and space and deep breaths that you need. If you feel overwhelmed, the best thing to do is to take your life one day at a time. If that’s too much, take it by the hour and if that’s too much then take it by the minute.

Be Calm

Staying calm is never easy but staying as tranquil as possible is the best you can do for your health during therapy. Self-care is healthcare so be sure to be carving out time to do what energizes you!

After Therapy

This is a trick heading because there should be no “after therapy!” That’s right, therapy should be an ongoing process for everyone and shouldn’t have an “end date.” Even when you’re feeling better, it’s still important to go to therapy on the good days.

We get that can be hard to do but it’s super important to keeping your mental health stable and on track.

Dr. Andy Brown

Taking counseling seriously is one of the best gifts you can give yourself in your life. Therapy is truly a life changing experience but it’s important to remember that therapy is only successful if you do the work. For a therapist who will be there to help you, guide you, and be by your side every step of the way, contact Dr. Andy Brown today.