Coming to therapy can be an incredibly terrifying thing to do.
It might be you’re not sure what to expect; how the therapist will be, if you’ll like him/her, what they will ask, what you have to say, how you will feel, and so much more. For some people there is then also the added anxiety of finding a new place, or meeting a new person, or finding a parking space, or accessing the building, or something else.
It might also be that you’re worried about having to confront something you don’t want to, or of letting go of something you’re not yet totally ready to let go of, or of talking about or sharing something you’re scared of, or of losing something you want to keep, or of discovering something you don’t want to know, or of not actually being ready yet, or about being there when you don’t actually want to be but feel forced into it for some reason or something else.
Going to therapy is totally outside of anyone’s comfort zone, by the very nature of what you’re coming for; which is to change something. Change is scary. For some people, these nerves, worries or anxieties are too much, and they don’t make it to therapy- this is something I completely get and can only hope that the person is able to access whoever or whatever they need, at the right time for them. I have also had the priviledge of clients coming despite how nervous they are, and I can only deeply respect and admire that determination to move forwards.
It might be interesting for you to know that for me, as the therapist, there is also an element of anticipation when knowing I have a session with a new client. that anticipation is mixed with looking forward to the session too. I find myself wondering if a new client will come, or what a client will bring with them and need to work on and if I can work successfully with the client to the standard that the client deserves. My anticipation is always mixed with hope for the client, the therapy and the process and journey we may explore together.
It may also be interesting to learn that when I start with a new therapist or when I meet a new supervisor, I still feel those common nerves about place, person, relationship, approach, how it will work and all sorts. I normally find that it does ease; I just need to know it’s someone I can work with.
Some of the things on my website, (such as my photo, my location, what my therapy room looks like and how to get into the car park) are there to help ease some of the most common nerves, although sadly I can’t ease all of them. I also aim to be flexible depending on your need prior to coming. Some people like to talk on the phone to me before meeting me, or some prefer to get a ‘feel’ through e-mail. Some people don’t like to talk to me much at all before meeting me face to face. All of those things are ok.
The actual initial consult appointment varies person to person. Some people like to know more about me and what I do, some people just want to share whatever they can in the time, some people want me to ask questions and share that way, some people just want to come to my room, get in the room and celebrate that achievement, rather than sharing or talking much. I do always do a bit of paperwork, but the rest of the session is very flexible.
I guess, with all of this, what I’m trying to say is that feeling nervous or anxious or panicked when coming is totally ok and expected. If you find the right therapist for you, and, if you can stick with it, as you get to know your new therapist and as you get to move through therapy, it will ease.