Dr Shelagh.com
Dr Shelagh Wright - Systemic and Family Psychotherapist and Family Mediator

I've Been Thinking - Dr Shelagh's Blog


If you see a therapist, he or she will talk with you about your feelings, thoughts, relationships, and important values. At the beginning, therapy sessions are focused on discussing what you'd like to work on and setting goals. Some of the goals people may set include things like:

During the first visit your therapist will probably ask you some questions about yourself and why you have come for therapy and encourage you to talk a bit about yourself. This helps the therapist understand you better. The therapist will ask you about the problems, concerns and symptoms you're having. The therapist will probably explain his or her understanding of your situation, how therapy could help, and what the process will involve. Together you and your therapist will decide on the goals for therapy and how frequently to meet. Some therapies have a set number of sessions when dealing with specific issues, for example CBT, however, generally, therapy sessions are agreed between you and your therapist and based on your needs. It is important to have reviews built into your therapy plan so you have opportunity to reflect on your sessions and make decisions about how to proceed. Usually this will be a discussion between you and your therapist about how you are doing in achieving the goals you set at the beginning of the therapy.

The therapist might help you learn new skills to help you think about a situation in a new way. For example, therapists can help people develop better relationship skills or coping skills, including ways to build confidence, express feelings or manage anger.

Most therapy is a combination of talking and listening, building trust, and receiving support and guidance. It might take a few meetings with a therapist before a person decides to talk openly. Trust is the most important ingredient in therapy- after all; therapy involves being open and honest with someone and talking about sensitive topics like feeling, ideas, relationships, problems, disappointments and hopes. A therapist is trained to be patient with people who need to take their own time talking about themselves and their situation.

Sticking to the schedule you agree on with your therapist and going to your appointments will ensure you have enough time with your therapist to work out your concerns. If your therapist suggests a schedule that you do not think you will be able to keep, be up front about it so you can work out an alternative.

Remember that this is your therapy and you have a say in how it works so if you have a preference that your therapist has not offered then do ask, most therapists can be flexible to suit your needs. Be sure that the therapist you choose feels right for you.