Whether you’re taking your first opportunity to meet with a mental health professional or you’re seeking a therapist in a new office or city, it can take some time to become comfortable with your counsellor. However, having an open and honest discussion about your inner thoughts and emotions is crucial to getting the right kind of treatment and guidance for any mental health concerns or conditions.
The mental health industry has had significant advancements and improvements within the last few years. Online services like MyTherapist provide increased accessibility, research has increased for treatment of seniors, adolescents, and specialised cases, and many offices are offering affordable payment plans for those with little to no insurance coverage. Therefore, it’s become increasingly easier to find a counsellor that connects with you, making you feel comfortable and heard throughout your sessions. Here’s how you can help facilitate that deeper connection.
Knowing your options
In order to find the right therapist for you, you first need to know if they have experience in your related concerns and conditions. Many databases list the specialisations of mental health professionals in your area and you can have an introductory phone call to talk with them about what you’d like to cover. It’s an entirely normal process to interview your therapist and collect feedback on their treatment options and general session outlines.
Whether you’re starting out with online therapy or in-person sessions, it’s important to remember that you can stop scheduling sessions if you feel like something’s blocking you from that connection. Whether it’s their attitude, the way they explain things, or possibly even the lack of explanation, you have the ability to notify them that you’re no longer booking appointments. While this may at first seem daunting, many therapists understand that in order to have productive sessions, you have to be the one to open up for an honest conversation. If you’re uncomfortable, it could end up setting you back instead.
After you’ve found a counsellor that covers what you’re initially looking for in a mental health expert, it’s important to know what the first few sessions will look like. You’ll need to communicate any areas you’re uncomfortable discussing off the bat, like your family background or substance use history. The counsellor may need general information like your family medical history or a general idea of your childhood and upbringing, but you don’t need to dive into difficult topics in your first few sessions.
As you continue to grow with your therapist, it’s important to remember that you’re in control of the pacing. A mental health professional should respect your boundaries and let you take the lead on discussions while they’re there to provide guidance and suggest treatment plans for conditions you may have. Challenging topics like trauma, abuse, or your internal thoughts can be difficult no matter how close you are to your counsellor—the main thing to keep in mind is that they’re there to help you without handing out judgment and criticism.
Maintaining your health and wellness consists of taking care of both your mind and your body. Mental health professionals are there to give you the tools and skills required to work through daily stressors, past experiences, and improve your future. This process is significantly easier when you trust your counsellor; enjoying their company and insights may not seem like a requirement, but for many people, it’s a necessity. While you may not have a strong connection within the first few sessions, it’s up to both of you to work toward that connection, building a system of trust and understanding.
This post is brought to you by BetterHelp. Featured image: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash