The First Step Is Always Scary: Beginner’s Guide To Therapy

Mental health is a delicate and scary topic. It touches on the issues of personal vulnerability and sensitivity that it’s always been an unspoken taboo in society.

Especially with regards to the mindset of earlier generations, the types of hardships and experiences endured are significantly different from the current generation. As a result, many older people are more predisposed to dismiss and criticize mental health as a sign of weakness, typecasting the newer generations for being too fragile or overly-sensitive.

On the other hand, while the current generation might not face physical hardships, they are forced to deal with issues like climate change and confront societal disparities as a by-product of the previous generations’ actions.

Beginner’s Guide To Therapy

Hence, these circumstances breed many grounds of conflict between the two sides. This is why many are keen to go for therapy or even learn the ropes with counselling courses singapore.

However, at the same time, determining who’s right and who’s wrong blurs into a grey area. Both sides have their justifications for their mindsets and cannot be completely faulted for their qualms with the other.

Consequently, it’s not surprising that in the midst of all these differences, mental health is neglected further and it spirals into a self-perpetuating cycle.

Thankfully, with the help of technology and the internet, information on the importance of psychological health on par with physical health is gaining significant awareness and traction. While this is a good improvement, there are also dangers that come with increased access to mental health information. Some might end up misdiagnosing their condition based on internet search results and potentially worsen their situation. At the end of the day, one of the most effective and appropriate methods of addressing one’s mental struggles would be to consult a professional therapist.

Selecting a Therapist

The initial search for a therapist can be scary and littered with uncertainty. After all, therapists are still humans and have their own strengths and limitations. Therefore, one therapist’s personality and approach to matters might not be entirely suitable to one as it is to another. Hence, as a guide for shortlisting potential therapists, here are some inquiries to make before confirming an appointment.

  • Perform a thorough background check on the therapist such as their professional associations and academic accolades.
  • Moreover, what scope and depth of experience do they possess regarding one’s particular mental struggle and check the specialty in their approach.
  • Lastly, determine the financial costs of each session and how insurance may cover these therapy sessions.

After finding an association and therapist one generally feels comfortable with, we can now proceed to the next step.

Entering the Office

During the first visit to the therapist’s office, many have likened the experience to a doctor’s appointment. New patients are required to register and sign in. Some components to look out for in the paperwork generally include some forms, medical insurance claims, medical history, and symptom questionnaire, as well as record release form and therapist-patient service agreements.

If uncomfortable with filling any of these written records, patients can also opt to answer verbally to the therapist directly or fill it up in the privacy of the home. After all the necessary forms are signed, patients are then ushered into the waiting room before being called on their turn.

Initial Therapy Session

Just like any orientation session, the first therapy session will typically act as an introduction between the therapist and patient. Not only does each party get to know more about each other, but it’s also important for determining the feasibility of establishing a comfortable level of trust between each other over subsequent courses of therapy.

Only in subsequent sessions would they become more therapeutic in nature. More specifically, therapists would be more equipped to assess a patient’s specific symptom or trauma to begin prescribing an appropriate course of treatment.

Also, be reminded that therapy sessions aren’t meant to be a one-sided affair. Both patients and therapists should work collaboratively to identify a suitable treatment method, its duration, and the specifics pertaining to patient confidentiality.

Course of Treatment

Depending on the patient’s comfort level, the duration of therapy could last anywhere between a few weeks to a few years. The key thing to note, however, is that healing takes time. It’s subjective to the individual and should not be forced or rushed. Therefore, this also highlights the importance of having decent insurance coverage to settle ongoing costs for however many sessions a patient attends.

Therapy Methods

Don’t be afraid to explore the possible treatment plans available. Therapists are trained professionally to deal with mental health issues with a multitude of techniques. Inquiring what options are available is essential to formulating an appropriate treatment plan for each patient. As a rough gauge, some common forms of therapy techniques include Gestalt therapy, existential therapy, cognitive therapy, and so on.

It’s always beneficial to conduct more personal research into these various methods to more accurately ascertain their effectiveness for you.

Protection of Patients’ Private Information

Under the Hippocratic Oath, all medical professionals are mandated to uphold the privacy of a patient’s personal information. Disclosing confidential information without permission is against the law. Thus, every patient can rest assured that their personal information is always protected by law and a breach of this trust would be a legal offense.

However, exceptions to this confidentiality claim arise when patients display signs of a threat to endangering themselves or others. Only in such cases is it permissible for therapists to breach confidentiality to preserve their patients’ lives.

Checking in on patient-therapist Suitability

There is no explicit guide for this. As a patient, one would know whether or not they feel comfortable indulging in private information with a therapist, depending on the level of understanding and trust developed over the course of a few sessions. If you suddenly feel uncomfortable with a particular therapist, don’t hesitate to switch to another therapist. In fact, in most cases, therapists would be more than willing to provide recommendations to fellow peers in the field that might be more suitable for patients.

Conclusion

Mental health should no longer be taken lightly. Sufficient research has shown deteriorating mental health directly impacts physical health. Everyone is fighting their own struggles and deserves to be heard. No one should feel ashamed for seeking help anymore.

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