4 Things To Expect In A Therapy Session

“Healing isn’t about changing who you are; it’s about changing your relationship with who you are. A fundamental part of that is honoring how you feel.”
– Suzanne Heyne

I like this quote because it encompasses what therapy is at its heart. Therapy isn’t only for people who have suffered untold abuse or trauma. It’s not only for people who are learning to deal with mental disorders. Therapy can benefit anyone who wants a better relationship with themselves. Therapy, quite simply, benefits anyone who is human.

All humans are healing from something. Some of us are healing from multiple things at once. Whether it’s childhood trauma, abuse, negative thoughts we have of ourselves, or a plethora of other emotional and behavioral struggles, we are human; therefore, we all have suffered in one way or another. That’s not to say we are doomed to endless unhappiness or despair. Our brains are perfectly capable of creating a happy mental environment, too. And that’s where therapy comes in.

“We are human, and that alone means that in some way we are all healing from something.” 

You might be wondering what really goes on in a therapy session and how it can help you become a better you. You might have an idea in your mind about what a therapy session looks like. This image might have come from movies or someone else’s experiences. Chances are you know someone who has gone through some therapy sessions. You might have even tried therapy at some point. Whatever your experience is with therapy, I believe there are a lot of misconceptions about how it really works and what to expect in a therapy session. In this article, I want to shed some light on what therapy really looks like and what you should expect from a therapy session.

Therapy helps you discover the purpose of your emotions

First and foremost, a therapist helps you understand the purpose of your emotions and gives you the tools and techniques to manage these emotions. Our brains are designed to protect us from emotional injury and trauma. It can block certain feelings and rewire itself to deal with all kinds of hurt. As humans, we also tend to shy away from uncomfortable feelings. Some people refuse to acknowledge certain emotions in themselves that they think are dark or unsavory.

The bottom line is that emotions are messy and uncomfortable, and for some people emotions can even be scary. They show deep, dark parts of ourselves and our past that we would just be happy to forget. Our brains shield us from that hurt and discomfort, but this also prevents us from healing fully from those experiences. A therapist not only helps you discover the purpose of your emotions, but will also give you the tools necessary to work through these emotions as you heal.

The first step in therapy is to give you tools and techniques that will help you work through your feelings and manage your emotions while you navigate this journey. It might seem scary to think about confronting certain emotions that you’ve been ignoring or suppressing, but in time — and with the help of a therapist — you will be able to confront the deeper feelings when you are better prepared and equipped to handle them.

Mental health therapy is a gradual process.

You won’t experience a massive, life-changing breakthrough, but you will experience many small breakthroughs along the way. Therapy isn’t a magic pill for mental clarity and happiness. It’s a process, sometimes a long process, sometimes a lifelong process.

The first small breakthroughs you’ll experience are the first techniques that a therapist will teach you that will help you manage your emotions while going through your everyday life. Emotional struggles like depression and anxiety affect people’s lives in many ways, but the tools and techniques taught by a therapist can provide relief within the first few sessions.

Many of the emotional and behavioral things that you and most people struggle with have been building over time, sometimes over most of your life. And those habits and thought patterns will take time to change. So if you decide to work through these issues with a therapist, just be patient. It’s a journey, not a destination.

Therapy helps you build a better relationship with yourself

The relationship we have with ourselves can become damaged just like other relationships with other people can become damaged. The main goal of therapy is to help you improve your relationship with yourself. Just like couples therapy helps improve and mend the relationship of two separate people, individual therapy helps improve and mend the relationship with yourself, specifically the relationship between your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

You are in charge of your healing

I might have the degree and experience in helping people with emotional and behavioral issues, but I can’t magically cure a patient overnight. Therapy gives you the tools, but you must actually use them in order to improve your mental health.

In each session, you’ll get different techniques and tools to use to help you with the struggles you’re dealing with, and you’ll be able to put them into practice in your daily life. In each session, you’ll build on that progress and go over what’s working and what isn’t working. Along the way, you’ll make changes and use the best tools for your situation to gradually create new ways of coping with whatever life throws at you.

Therapy is for any human who wants to develop a better relationship with themselves, but it’s not a magic pill. You will play a key role in your healing. In each therapy session you can expect to honor your feelings and learn different tools and techniques to gradually make positive changes in your life and mental health.

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