Before, During and After Therapy

January 7, 2020
by Gabriel De Guzman 3 minute read

A guide to finding the support you're looking for

One of the most significant factors that determine positive outcomes for counselling and other talking-based therapies, is the professional relationship built between the therapist and the person. So if you’ve been looking around trying to find the one who you might work with best - you’re on the right track.

However, if you've ever looked online to find some form of support (seeing that you're here means that there's a good chance you have) you would have definitely come across many different types of therapists offering even more different types of therapy.

You could have started googling for counsellors and found yourself reading about psychologists. In wondering that the difference was, ended up reading about psychotherapists, counselling psychologists and counselling psychotherapists.

Super confusing.

To add to it all, there's also all the different ways of therapy out there and different websites can give different definitions, which just adds to the confusion.

Below is a short guide that aims to clear the air with finding the support you're searching for.
Before the first session

The best way to go about it is to stop googling all the terms and start with looking for who’s around you.

First, build a contact list.

Start searching for the therapists that are near you and have fees that are within your budget.

Check out their website if they have one and instead of figuring out what type of therapy they offer, get a good feel for the kind of person they might be.

Because what all the jargon and different definitions on therapies and therapists out there really determine is the approach the therapist will take when working with you. Even though they may follow a certain type of therapy, the way they use it will be different to another therapist who may follow the same type.

So you can spend a lot of time googling, or in this way, you get straight to the source and you can get a better idea of exactly how that person works.

Now that you’ve browsed through which therapists you might want to work with, you'll have a list of who you’ll contact.

Second, figure out what to say and what to ask.

It can be really helpful to prepare what you want to say and ask about the people on your list.

Figuring out what to say
Here are some questions you can use to help you figure this out:

  • What am I facing right now?
  • When did this start?
  • How would I describe how this (what I am facing) is affecting parts of my life?
  • How might I find solutions to this problem? What have I tried? (What worked and didn't work? What worked for awhile what stopped working?)

Figuring out what to ask
Below are some questions that might be important for you to ask a potential therapist:

  • How would they approach whatever you share with them?
  • What is their background and perhaps, their motivation for working in this field?
  • Are they accredited by a professional body?
  • With what I am currently facing, how many sessions would I attend?
  • In general, how many sessions do your clients attend? *
  • How many sessions do you think it would take until I can figure out if the counselling sessions will make a difference? **
  • What is their fee and is there a way to pay in installments (if necessary)?
*The truth is, the number of sessions you attend will vary. There is no golden number of sessions, after which, you would be "completely okay".
Why? Because your experience and your journey is completely unique and different to another person. Asking this question is really to figure out if a therapist might work prescriptively or more uniquely to your experiences.
**2-3 is really when the trust builds and comfort-ability grows. This gives you a good idea whether or not working with a particular therapist will be for you.

In this way, you gain more information about them and you sort of 'taste-test' their type of therapy.

Once you’re ready and thought about who might be best for you - give the potential therapist a call ready to talk about you and what you're wanting from the sessions.

If you are still unsure and have some questions or thoughts, you can check out our article on common thoughts and questions people have about therapy to support you with finding out what to do and encourage you to find the support you’re looking for.

Or you could get in touch with me with the form below and we'll arrange to chat over the phone. I'd love to be a part of getting you to that support you need. Even if it's with another therapist - we’re all here to help each other out!

During the first session

Having done all the preparation above will really help with the rest of the whole process because you have already shared a little bit during your phone call.

Below are some thoughts that might be helpful for when you are in the session with the therapist.

While these questions help, it’s not a set of boxes to tick while you’re in the session.
These are here to help you be aware of what you could pay attention to in order to get to know the therapist, how they work, and if you believe trust can grow and you can work with them.

  • Am I comfortable in this place?
  • Is how they work what I expected? If not, is it in a way that I prefer to work with?
  • Do I get the sense that this therapist respects you and your views?
  • Am I able to give voice to your true thoughts and emotions?
  • Is the counsellor listening and paying attention to you?
  • Has the counsellor talked to me about how we will work together in facing what I present with?

Having these in mind, do remember that you’re there for yourself, and to be present in the conversation.

After the first session
How was the first session?

As we said at the start of this article, the relationship between the therapist and you is really important in making a positive impact for the support you’re getting. So it can be worth while to spend the time to really think about who can best support you. That way you gain the most from your time and resources.

Below are some thoughts you can engage with after the session:

  • What did I get out of the session?
  • What did I learn about the therapist?
  • What did I learn about what I’m facing?
  • Could this therapist be someone whose manner of working and background really support me?
  • What did you like? What didn’t you like? Why?
Relationship is important so it is good to have a think about these things. Figuring out what you liked and didn’t like gives you an idea of what you’re looking for.

If you found that, that particular therapist will not work well with you, don’t go back. You’re in no way obligated to continue seeing a therapist if you aren’t comfortable with them.
Just let them know you're looking to find support elsewhere and they'll understand.

Time to breathe

Telling your story is hard. It may be re-living or re-experiencing some past memories that are unpleasant and difficult so if you find that perhaps you want to keep looking, take time to breathe. Care for yourself, and contact/meet the next potential therapist when you’re ready.

Check out our counselling page if you’re wondering how our services could support you. Better yet, fill in the form below and get in touch now.

I hope this has been helpful to you

I wish you all the best with finding the support you are looking for. If there are some thoughts you want to talk to someone about I encourage you to find and talk to someone you trust.

I also welcome you to get in touch with me somehow and we can chat about it. It’s important to find the support that works for you because you are important. You don’t have to go through this whole process of searching alone. I believe, once we all know where and how we can find the support we want and need for ourselves, we can be there to help those around us, when they seek support at some point in their lives.

We’re all here to help each other out in the highs and lows of life.