What to expect in therapy

When the demand of life gets overwhelming, we may need some professional help to adjust to significant life changes, work through negative feelings, process loss and grief, improve your self-esteem, or improve your relationships.

Therapy, counselling, psychotherapy is often used inter-changeably to refer to the interventions offered by a professionally trained person in mental health to reduce unhelpful thoughts, behavior and beliefs and to assist in helping to find solutions for a better life.

Often, an appointment will have to be made to see a professional therapist. There are many ways to get therapy. If you are a student, most schools and tertiary institutions have school counsellors. You may also approach a Medical General Practitioner at most medical clinic to make a referral for you for psychological services at a Polyclinic or a private therapist.

Each therapy session is usually about one hour. Please enquire about the fees before you proceed for therapy.  For some private clinics, a percentage of the fee will be charged if you do not turn up for therapy.

Here is where you can get therapy.


Here’s what you can expect in the first session.

Pre-therapy details

You will be asked to fill-up some forms for your contact details, provide some information about why you want to see a therapist, and sign an agreement before entering the therapy room.

The therapist will usually explain to you the confidentiality clause. Which states that most information shared in the session will be known only to your therapist unless there is the possibility of harm to self or other; or if the person is very young. Confidentiality is one of the key elements of any therapy session. However, whatever is agreed about confidentiality between therapist and client is usually for the clients best welfare and safety.


What will the therapist ask?

Since this is the first session, the therapist will need to find out as much as they can to better understand a person’s past, what is currently happening and the thought processes that drives certain behavior. Sometimes, family history and relationships will also be discussed. So be prepared to be asked a lot of question and to talk a lot.


What should I tell?

While you have the prerogative not to tell everything, it would benefit you to share as much and as honest as you. By sharing as much as you can remember, your therapist will have a comprehensive understanding of your situation and work out a treatment plan that is best for you.


How will I feel?

Often, the initial session with a therapist can leave a person feeling very raw and vulnerable as the discussion would usually involve talking about feelings, thoughts, experiences that can be unpleasant. You may feel a conflicting range of emotions such as insecurity, shame, self-doubt, distrust, excitement, relief etc. Some old wounds may be opened, but a qualified counsellors would know how to close any wounds that have been opened before the client leaves the session.


What can I expect from the therapist?

The purpose of therapy is not for the therapist to provide advise but rather for the client to discover where they are in their headspace and how they can move to a better emotional state.

Often at the end of the session, your therapist will review what has been discussed and suggest the next step in your recovery. This may include certain activities or practices that you may have to work on before the next session.

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