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What's Therapy Like?

If you're considering entering into counseling or psychotherapy, first of all, congratulations! Making the decision to seek support is a courageous step toward self-awareness, growth, and healing.

It's understandable to have questions or feel uncertain about what to expect, and even be uncomfortable. This primer will provide a basic overview of the process, helping to demystify the experience and prepare you for your therapeutic journey.

Initial Contact and Assessment

Your journey typically begins with an initial phone call or consultation. During this time, you can discuss the reasons you're seeking therapy and any goals you might have. The therapist will also provide details about their practice, approach, fees, and other logistics. Some therapists might use this time to conduct an initial assessment to understand your needs better and determine the best therapeutic approach.

Setting the Framework - The First Session

The first official session often involves a more detailed assessment. You'll likely discuss your medical, personal, and mental health history. The therapist will also talk about confidentiality, its limits, and provide you with informed consent to ensure you understand the therapeutic process.

The Therapeutic Relationship

One of the most important elements of therapy is the relationship between you and your therapist. It's crucial to feel safe, understood, and respected. This rapport allows for genuine openness, which is pivotal for successful therapy. If you ever feel uncomfortable or believe the relationship isn't working, it's essential to communicate this with your therapist.

Regular Sessions

Typically, therapy sessions last between 45 to 60 minutes and occur weekly, though frequency can vary based on your needs and the therapist's recommendation. During these sessions, you'll explore thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and patterns that impact your well-being.

The Process of Self-Exploration

Therapy is a process of exploration and self-discovery. This journey can be enlightening, but it can also bring up intense emotions or memories. It's natural to feel vulnerable, and sometimes even resistant, but remember that your therapist is there to support and guide you.

Homework and Tasks

Some therapists assign "homework" or tasks to be completed outside of sessions. This might include journaling, practicing specific skills, or engaging in self-reflection. These assignments can deepen your understanding and fast-track your progress.

Progress Evaluation

Throughout therapy, there will be periodic evaluations of your progress. These check-ins ensure that you're moving toward your goals and allow for adjustments in the therapeutic approach if necessary.

The Duration of Therapy

The length of therapy varies widely. Some people benefit from short-term therapy, spanning a few weeks to months, while others might attend for years. The duration depends on your goals, the nature of the issues you're addressing, and the therapeutic approach.

Ending Therapy

Termination, or concluding therapy, is a significant phase. It provides an opportunity to reflect on your journey, recognize growth, and discuss strategies to maintain your gains. Ideally, termination is planned and collaborative, but sometimes external factors can expedite this process.

You always have the right to ask questions, provide feedback, or even change therapists if you feel it's not a good fit. Therapy is a service for your benefit, and your comfort and agency are paramount.

About Joshua Wood, LPC

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Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, MA, LPC has provided counseling and therapy services to individuals and families for 18 years in the Morris County and Somerset County areas of New Jersey. He currently provides online counseling services to individuals with anxiety disorders, gastrointestinal conditions (Crohn's disease, colitis and celiac disease), adjustment disorders, and college mental health challenges. He formerly worked at the Cambridge Professional Center in Morristown, NJ and received his training at the Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program at Morristown Medical Center. He earned an M.A. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2006 and his B.A. in English and Textual Studies from Syracuse University in 1993.

Joshua Wood

Joshua Wood, MA, LPC has provided counseling and therapy services to individuals and families for 18 years in the Morris County and Somerset County areas of New Jersey. He currently provides online counseling services to individuals with anxiety disorders, gastrointestinal conditions (Crohn's disease, colitis and celiac disease), adjustment disorders, and college mental health challenges.

Learn more about Josh or make an appointment.

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