Before you get there

What will therapy be like?

You might be feeling anxious or unsure of what therapy is going to involve. Being prepared and informed about therapy can help. 

How might I feel?
You might be feeling any number of emotions as you prepare to start your therapy. You may feel anxious or unsure of what will happen, you might feel very keen to get started with therapy, or you may feel worried about having to talk to someone you don’t know about how you are feeling. 

Will it be easy?
Therapy is not an easy process. You might find it very challenging to talk about and work through problems, thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are causing you distress. You might be more upset after your therapy than you were before because you have been thinking and talking about things that you may have previously avoided. If this happens you should discuss this with your therapist. (See first contact with therapist). 

Therapy is a journey that you have to choose to begin and continue with. It will - and should - be hard work but it may lead you to an improvement in your psychological well-being, coping abilities and mood. 

Will I be cured?
You might be hoping or assuming that therapy will lead to a ‘cure’ of your problems. ‘Cure’ is an unhelpful term, and is not what therapy aims to achieve.

It is really important I thought that therapy would cure me; I hadn’t realised that it was about getting a better understanding of my difficulties and how to manage them. not to start your therapy sessions with the assumption that the therapist or the therapy itself will cure you. What it actually aims to do is to provide you with an opportunity to work through your problems and equip you with understanding, coping skills and tools to allow a healthier state of mind and to improve your psychological well-being. 

What if I have had a bad experience of therapy in the past? After having counselling where I didn’t feel listened to or understood, I plucked up the courage to try again and found a great therapist who helped me explore my loss.

Unfortunately, some people may already have had one or more negative experiences of therapy. If this is you, and you are considering starting therapy again, you might find it helpful to look at our pages: [first therapy session; what should not happen; what to do if you feel worse

To aid your initial discussions with your therapist, you may find it useful to think about these 5 questions and note down your thoughts before your first therapy session. It may also be helpful to take these notes along to your first session.