Nearly 20% of adults in the US have received mental health treatment in the past 12 months. About 9.5% receive counseling or therapy from a mental health professional. Some people are still apprehensive about talk therapy, though.
What is talk therapy, exactly? Also called psychotherapy, the process involves attending sessions with a therapist to talk through your experiences.
Learning what to expect from talk therapy in Westchester could help you feel more comfortable about the experience. Read on to learn more about the process and how to prepare for your first session today!
What is Talk Therapy?
Before you prepare for your first session, it helps to learn a little more about what this form of treatment entails.
Enrolling in psychotherapy sessions with a professional can help improve your mental health and well-being. You consider scheduling sessions with a:
- Psychiatric nurse
- Social worker
Make sure the professional is licensed and qualified to facilitate therapy. They’ll apply scientifically validated procedures to offer the help you need.
For example, you might require help with:
- Coping with stress
- Discussing future lifestyle changes
- Gaining a better understanding of your emotions
- Overcoming insecurities and anxieties
- Identifying obstacles to optimal mental health
- Working on stopping unhealthy habits
- Processing traumatic experiences
- Identifying triggers
Talk therapy will allow you to address goals, concerns, and challenges. Your counselor won’t pass judgment. You can feel confident speaking with someone to work through your concerns.
Does talk therapy help? Yes. It could help you target and change thoughts and behaviors that are impacting your state of mind.
With regular sessions, you could improve your mental health.
Choose a Therapist
First, take the time to find a counselor or therapist who suits your needs. Consider their:
- Rules/office protocols
For example, you might want to choose a therapist who offers talk therapy in addition to other services. Some focus on visualizing, artwork, role-playing, and hypnosis as well.
If you begin sessions and find you’re not comfortable with your therapist, that’s okay! You’re always allowed to seek help from someone else.
Before Your Appointment
Before your initial appointment, you’ll need to fill out paperwork. These documents might include:
- A questionnaire about your symptoms
- Medical history
- List of medications you’re taking
- HIPPA forms
- Therapist-patient services agreement
- Record release forms
- Insurance information
Prepare for your first appointment before entering the counselor’s office. In addition to filling these documents out ahead of time, you can also prepare yourself mentally. Here are a few tips that can help.
Set Goals and Expectations
Take a moment to consider your unique goals. What do you want to achieve through counseling?
For example, you might want to gain a better understanding of your mood and emotions. Maybe you want to work through a traumatic experience.
Have realistic expectations before your first session, too. Therapy isn’t a cure-all. You won’t leave completely cured after your first session.
You need to remain patient to achieve your goals.
Does talk therapy help? About 89% of people agree society would be better off if more people considered mental health services. Another 93% surveyed agreed that therapy is helpful.
It could prove beneficial if you have:
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Clinical or situational depression
- Generalized anxiety or social anxiety disorder
- Substance abuse or addiction
However, it can also help if you need clarity of direction in your life.
Remind yourself about why you’re attending sessions in the first place. Remain focused on working to achieve your goals.
Give Yourself Credit
The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps many people from seeking help. Give yourself credit for visiting a professional in the first place.
Try not to be too hard on yourself as you begin your sessions.
Reserve Time for Yourself
Before your session, reserve time for yourself. Otherwise, you might feel nervous about your appointment, which can trigger cortisol production.
Excessive stress might prove counterproductive. Instead, address how you’re feeling. Find ways to help yourself relax.
Your First Session
Before scheduling talk therapy in Westchester, it helps to learn what to expect from your first session.
The counselor leading your sessions will likely ask questions during your initial appointment. These questions can help them gain a deeper understanding of your background. For example, they might ask about:
- Past traumas and experiences
- Family history of mental health concerns
- What you hope to achieve through talk therapy
- How you’re coping with issues in your daily life
Gathering this information can help them determine the best course of treatment.
Usually, talk therapy involves an open-ended dialogue. Your counselor will consider the issues you’re facing. They might take notes while you discuss experiences, symptoms, relationships, or other concerns.
You don’t have to set a limit to the number of sessions you schedule.
Instead, you can continue scheduling appointments until you gain a better understanding of your challenges, habits, or condition. Regular appointments can help work through your problems.
You can continue with appointments until you make lifestyle improvements with your goals in mind.
Remember, your initial appointment will help your therapist determine the best course of treatment based on your needs. For example, they might recommend approaches like:
- Gestalt therapy
- Client-centered therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Psychoanalytic therapy
- Existential therapy
These techniques can help you create personal changes, resolve personal issues, or cope with mental illness. Your therapist will help you find the combination of techniques that can accomplish your treatment goals.
Discuss any questions you have before leaving your first appointment.
For example, you might ask how many sessions you’ll require or how long each session will last. Make sure you understand what the therapist’s preferred techniques entail, too.
Asking these questions will help you maintain realistic expectations about your sessions moving forward.
Talk Therapy Westchester: Prepare for Your First Session Today
To recap, what is talk therapy? It’s your opportunity to process and work through the challenges you’re experiencing in your life. Consider beginning sessions with a licensed professional today.
With their help, you can make changes to improve your mental health and overall life.
Eager to get started? We can’t wait to help.
Schedule your initial consultation today!