Depending on your present situation and your reasons for seeking help, there are many benefits to therapy. If you are seeking diagnosis or treatment for a mental illness, therapy can help you better manage your symptoms, outbreaks, and triggers. It can also offer you increased coping skills and open your eyes to new ways of dealing with situations that you may not have been aware of before. Therapy can offer problem-solving skills, provide support, and help you work through life changes, allowing you to see your circumstances as a personal growth opportunity instead of a burden or obstacle.
While the decision to begin therapy is an individual choice, in many regards it may be helpful for everyone. There are a wide variety of reasons to begin therapy ranging from diagnosed mental illnesses to help to manage daily stress or a transitional period of your life. It is your treatment plan that will vary based on your individual circumstances.
Your first therapy session has two main goals:
We will take the first meeting to assess your current circumstances. While my areas of expertise may be consistent with your reasons for coming to therapy, we will need to address specific areas that are unique to you and your current circumstances. From there, we will be able to better determine what type of therapy is right for you, what it will entail, and what it will look like for you in terms of fitting it into your day-to-day life. In addition, I may provide you with series of actions to do outside of our therapy sessions, such as practice a certain technique, or read a specific book, as it is important you take on an active role in your healing.
Our first session will be more like a two-way interview. I’ll get to know you, and you’ll get to know me. I will ask you questions to help me better understand your primary issues and concerns, as well as your history in terms of other events in your life, family, childhood, and career. However, you are welcome to ask questions too. In order for therapy to be successful, it is imperative we establish a client/therapist relationship that is supportive and honest. In fact, it is the nature – and the quality – of our relationship that will determine the success of your overall therapy goals. The success of the ‘meeting of the minds’ with your psychotherapist is the most accurate predictor of a positive, healthy outcome to the hard work you put in towards your happiness. As such, each client/therapist relationship will be unique but certain values and themes are true for all sessions, and you can expect the following:
Is therapy confidential?
As a general rule, all therapy sessions are confidential and anything you discuss with your therapist will remain between the two of you unless you request otherwise. This is as per protection rules by law, which all therapists legally need to follow, and no information from the session can be disclosed without prior written consent from the client.
There are exceptions to this law however, and the therapist can disclose information from the session to legal authorities or appointed persons if any of the following are true:
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Dr. Bobby L. Armstrong, PhD , ThD, P.psy