What Therapists want people who have never gone to therapy to know

When you’re new to therapy, it can be very overwhelming to even send out that first e-mail to schedule with a therapist. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to going to a mental health professional to be vulnerable with whatever it is you’re struggling with. There are unknowns around if they’re going to be the right fit, will you have to try more than once to find someone you connect with and like? This can then make therapy daunting not knowing what to expect. With this in mind, we asked 18 therapists, “What do you wish people who have never gone to therapy would know about therapy?”

1. “Everyone can benefit! It does not always have to involve digging into the past, although that can be useful. It can simply be learning new coping skills with an objective and friendly human being.”

Chelsea Hudson, LCPC

2. “It doesn’t have to be intense and scary!! You are not broken. You are human. Our goal isn’t to judge or fix, but to help you learn what you think, feel, value, and need and to support you in taking the steps to get there.”

-Jessica Dattalo, LCSW

3. “It is not about going somewhere to get advice. It is about having the courage to allow someone to walk beside you on your journey and help you utilize your own wisdom to live a more meaningful life.” 

-Dani Parmacek, LCPC, R-DMT

4. “Your therapist is not your enemy. The entire point of therapy is to improve your quality of life. Your therapist is always on your team. “

-Dr. Abby Brown, PsyD

5. “You can greatly benefit from therapy even when you are already in a good place in your life!”

-Ali Mayer Morris, LCSW

6. “I wish those people would know that therapy can be whatever they need it to be, they are ultimately in charge of their mental health care.”

-Nicole Bentley, LCSW

7. “You owe it to yourself! To carve out the time to be reflective, introspective, and to grow. It does not have to be scary and therapy can truly be whatever you want it to be. For those who just want a place to process with someone who is not a family member or close friend–it can be exactly that.”

-Jaclyn Feldman, LCSW

8. “Therapy is not advice! Therapy is about the relationship and creating a safe and non-judgmental space for exploration.”

-Bridget Montgomery, LPC

9. “Therapy is for everyone. Therapy flows at the pace of your readiness. You own your process. Therapy is a relationship. It is ok to make sure that the therapist is the “right one.” You have to feel comfortable to open up, to share, and to trust this person to help guide you on your journey. ”

-Aisha Robinson, LCPC

10. “The thoughts we avoid grow stronger. Giving a designated space to discuss them with a third party can help shrink their power and tolerate them better. It’s not about feeling better. It’s about getting better at feeling.”

-Chelsea Mann, LPC

11. “Therapy is beneficial for everyone because even on the most basic level, therapy can help you learn about what you’re feeling, why you might be feeling it, and how to better cope with it!”

-Bari Rothfeld, LCSW

12. “Therapy is there for when you need it. It is not reserved for when you are having a crisis. Not every session is going to be immensely impactful; growth is gradual and no therapist has a quick fix. Therapy ultimately is whatever you put into it. There is work to be done and when you’re willing and open to it, you can greatly benefit from it. “

-Jennifer Klesman, LCSW

13. “It sometimes takes a while to find a therapist that is the right “fit.” Each therapist has their own personality and unique style, as well as treatment specialization. There is no problem with shopping around for therapists until you find one that you have a great connection with!”

-Sierra Petersen, LCSW

14. “Therapy improves the quality of your life and overall well-being.”

-Chelsea Dillavou, LCSW

15. “Therapy isn’t always groundbreaking nor are major discoveries always made. Based on how therapy is portrayed in the media some people assume therapy to be entirely life-changing or expect to uncover some repressed trauma. Alternatively, therapy doesn’t always have to just focus on trials and tribulations of daily life yet can also focus on accomplishments, things you’re proud of, and progress you’ve made.”

-Jillian Ross, LCSW

16. “I wish people knew therapy is like an epic snow day on your favorite ski run, filling in the ruts in your thinking to create a new, fresh, untrodden landscape. Upon which you can go anywhere and do anything. Allowing you to travel to new unimaginable places.” 

-Stephanie Quattrocki, LCPC

17 . “You don’t have to be at your “rock bottom” or in active crisis to reach out for support. Therapy can be a wonderful place for a lot of growth whether it be reaching a deeper self-understanding, identifying life values, or learning to better cope with stress which is inevitable and we all experience to varying degrees. “

-Kasia Zak, LCSW

18. “It is very common to feel anxious or uncomfortable when starting therapy or even if you have been in therapy for a while. Talking through these emotions with your therapist can be helpful in building trust and ultimately, help you reach your therapy goals.”

-Jennifer Week, LCSW

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