Therapy is a private, safe and confidential place to talk about what is really happening with you or with someone you care about. It’s your time to focus on your feelings or problems that are private and personal. It’s your space to work through that issue you cannot tell the people in your life or the issues your friends and family are tired of hearing about and cannot seem to help you with. Everything you discuss in therapy is confidential — it stays between you and the therapist. 

Psychologists help people with a wide array of issues such as treating anxiety, grief, and depression as well as helping people develop new perspectives, healthier relationships, and coping mechanisms. 

When you are in therapy, you are not alone. You have a professional to help you get through a challenging time. The key to successful therapy is a good fit between therapist and client. You want to find a therapist that you feel understands you, that you can be yourself with, and has the knowledge and skills to help you with whatever you are facing. 

How do I find the right fit? I recommend looking at several therapist’s websites and bios. See if they are a credentialed and licensed therapist then make sure that they are experts in what you want to work on. 

Ask yourself if you want to see a man or a woman. There is no right or wrong answer, just trust your inclination. Call a couple of therapists and see how you feel on the call. Different therapists have different personalities and styles. Find the one that you feel most comfortable with and have developed a good rapport with during your first conversation. 

I know, it takes courage to make the first call. It takes courage to be honest with yourself, courage to trust someone, and courage to make a change in your life. But finding peace, resolution, and relief makes it all worth it. 

I am often asked what the experience of therapy is like. Honestly, I think that it is a very personal and different experience for everyone. The first session will give you a lot of information. This is a time for you to sit with the therapist and get a sense of what working together would be like. 

Therapy is a collaborative effort. The therapist is an expert in therapy and the client is the expert in their lives. Together, we meet in the middle to create solutions. Psychologists diagnose, decide what type of treatment to use (and when), and untangle the issues, providing tools to overcome a challenging time. The client brings in their feelings, what they want to work on, and they share their relationship history and unique life experiences. Together, therapist and client define what it is that they are working on, and create a treatment plan or a road map, so to speak, on how to get the desired outcome. 

A common stumbling block to starting therapy is the misconception that therapy will never end. Therapy is not forever. It is a process with clear goals and a mutually created plan that helps guide the decision for when treatment naturally ends. In therapy, you develop a therapist-client relationship that helps you heal in connection. It is certainly common to work with someone on an issue and achieve goals that allow you to end treatment. Years may pass and you may return for a few sessions to work on another altogether different issue. When you have a good connection with a therapist, it can be a wonderful life long relationship where you work on things at different times in your life. 

Pass along this article if you know someone who could benefit from a better understanding of the process of therapy or may need tips on seeking a therapist. If you are experiencing challenges in your life and you think therapy is right for you, feel free to call (760) 930-0886 to set up a free 20-minute consultation with me, Rakefet Benderly PH.D, an experienced psychologist in San Diego. 

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