April 28, 2009

begin at the beginning

Greetings. This is my first post at "blogging behavioral." I hope this is the start of a long and satisfying ... oh, forget all that. I'd like to get right to it.

So are you ready for something truly original? I shall begin ... at the beginning.

Which is the first session.

Many people express nervousness and uncertainty at the thought of their first therapy session. They do not know what to expect and are understandably wary.

Some people have never sat in a room and disclosed private details to a stranger, professional or otherwise. It can feel daunting, at the least. What will I say, exactly? How will I start? How do I ease into potentially embarrassing details? Do I just spill my guts or do I start with the healthier aspects of my functioning?

People worry, in other words, about forming a good impression in the midst of sharing the troubled chaos that has become their life. It's not easy walking into a situation where the emphasis in on our low-lights.

Some are worried about intense emotions expressed during the initial session. It is not uncommon, for example, for clients to shed tears very early on. I often hear something dismissive, like, "I don't usually cry like this." Or, "I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm crying."

But I do. I understand. I expect it. And for this I am prepared. With the most critical tool in my therapeutic arsenal: a box of tissues. I consider this emotional outpouring a normal part of the therapy process.

Most people enter therapy because they have an overwhelming amount of emotional distress. Predictably, and typically out of necessity, they want to unburden. As a professional, I welcome this. There is no judgement.

Next post, I will talk about what a patient can typically expect from me as part of an initial evaluation.

Image source, here.

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