Your therapist may take for granted how difficult it is for most people to actually make the decision to seek out treatment for a mental health concern. A therapist will typically see anywhere from 6 to 8 people a day, everyday, and mental health concerns are their lifeblood. They often don’t understand the anxiety and fear most people have in making their first appointment, much less keeping it. This article will help explain what to expect from your first psychotherapy appointment.
You’re In a Boatload of Anxiety
It’s not like anybody wants to go see a therapist or psychiatrist. It’s not the type of thing someone wakes up in the morning and says, “Wow, I’ve been missing something in my life. I’d love to chat to a stranger about my innermost personal fears, thoughts, and feelings and see exactly how screwed up I really am.” In fact, most people think just the opposite about almost any health or mental health appointment. Most people avoid them like the plague. Or avian bird flu. It’s just not something you want to deal with.
There are no easy ways to “get over” this fear and anxiety. Such anxiety is a normal part of our lives, and lets us know that what we’re about to embark on is indeed a scary journey of self-discovery. Learning things about oneself and bringing the light of day to shine on them is not always all joy and butterflies. Sometimes our demons need to come out as well, or those behaviors we almost wish nobody in the world knew about.
So instead of fighting these feelings, its best to just accept them as a part of the process. That acceptance becomes one of the very first steps of not only getting help, but also the psychotherapeutic process of change. Because without making changes in your life, you’re just going to keep on feeling bad.
Make the Appointment
You’ve decided you want to talk to someone about your feelings or thoughts that are really causing you concern. They are interfering with your ability to interact with your significant other, family or friends. You can’t function at work or school any longer. You feel very much “out of it,” not living your life so much as observing yourself living your life. You may feel detached and unable to explain your emotional reactions to everyday events.
Indeed, a professional can help you sort these types of things out. But making that first appointment is the first step. And it can be a doozie.
Most people who’ve come this far usually have some idea of what is going on in their lives. That is, you know whether you’re suffering from anxiety or severe depression or are manic. These symptoms are so common in today’s society, and the information so readily available, many people often end up “diagnosing” themselves long before they seek out professional assistance.
Most people will end up seeing a psychotherapist, counselor or psychologist for this first appointment; it’s fairly rare to see a psychiatrist for a first appointment unless you can schedule one directly with them. A therapist is often a good starting point for therapy, because if they believe that medications may be of additional help to you in your situation, they can readily refer you to a psychiatrist for a prescription.