Those that grew up in the 90s might recognise the song lyric “come as you are”, in my defence it’s a great opener to a really important topic.
Coming for therapy can feel so very daunting, unburdening yourself and confiding in a stranger seems such an odd thing for us to do. There can be so many questions and so many fears, even sitting opposite someone and holding eye contact can be enough to bring up strong feelings of anxiety.
The thing is, most therapists will have had their own therapy, they will have sat in the clients chair and felt all those feelings you might be feeling now. When you come to your first therapy session, you will find a person who cares deeply about the wellbeing of others, someone who will keep your information confidential, someone who won’t judge, someone who has heard all the dark thoughts, all the difficult places and can stay with yours.
Your first session will often have a structure to it, there’s always the house keeping bits about confidentiality, contact details, setting goals – it’s also your chance to see how you feel about the therapist in front of you, it’s your chance to be empowered and make sure this feels like a person you can trust, a person you can share things with. Countless studies show us that the relationship between you and your therapist is actually the biggest predictor of change in therapy.
You don’t need to wear a mask when you come through the door, you don’t need to pretend to have it all together or hold your feelings back. You are in a safe space, there is safety here, space and time to explore, understand and conquer your fears.
It’s scary, but bring everything with you, all those worries, fears, habits all the things you’ve been battling with, come as you are – with your feelings, with your thoughts and together we can find a way through.