You may have been wondering whether to get therapy for some time. You may have been having repeating difficulties in relationships, be it with work, family, friends, romantic or sexual, or casual relationships?
You may be wondering why you have never had a long-term partner? What other relationship styles are there, such as polyamory or open relationships? Or is it about your relationship to your body, culture, disability, faith, gender identity or sexuality that you are curious about? Or do you have concerns about the fun you are having in the bedroom? Whether it is developing your understanding of kinky sex, or managing your relationship with drugs, alcohol or porn better.
You may have been told by work, family, friends, colleagues or previous partners to get yourself some therapy? I could go on and on with what could be bringing you to therapy. If these are some of the questions or conversations you have been having, then yes it may be time to make contact with a therapist and decide if you are ready to start therapy.
The first stage is to be curious and wonder is this something I believe I want or need. Have you spoken or understood from your own research or from speaking to friends about what having therapy means? Are you willing to make this commitment and is it your will to make changes in your life, to help you lead a healthier and happier life?
If you are presenting with something specific, I would suggest taking care when shopping around. I don’t believe that all therapists can work with anything presented to them and I don’t feel it is ethical to learn through your clients presenting need.
On my website I ask you to fill in an initial contact form. I know some clients like to provide a lot of information here. I just ask for a summary of your presenting needs. I will aim to respond within 48 hours and offer you a free 30-minute telephone or zoom introduction meeting.
Make contact with a few therapists. Just as if you needed to get an eye test to check out if your vision is working properly. You would have the eye test, see if there is a problem arising and then decide what budget you have to purchase a new set of glasses. For me the relationship and connection between client and therapist, and vice versa is the key to getting your needs met in therapy. Some therapists like me offer a free 30-minute telephone or zoom introduction meeting.
In this session I will answer any initial questions you may have and will work out what you are presenting with and if I am the right therapist for you. This is also the time where you can begin to work out if I am the right therapist for you. If I am not the right therapist for you, I may refer on or may make suggestions of where to go so you can continue your search. Shopping around can be costly, this is a long-term investment in your health and well-being, from my own experience I have seen the benefits of this investment.
Preparing for your initial meeting
Your initial session is not just about whether I am the right therapist for you. Therapy is a two-way process and what can be a very deep intimate relationship. Some find it overwhelming to be listened to properly for the first time. It is a time to work out together whether this is the right time for you to start therapy. Are you ready to engage in the process? Do you understand that you may have a part to play and responsibility in what is happening in the relationships around you?
Sometimes I suggest to clients writing a letter to their future self or to the initial meeting. This can be a good way to get out your thoughts and perhaps some anxieties about what is bringing you to therapy on to paper.
Maybe there are aspects of yourself, this could be your culture, race, gender, sexuality, faith, disability that you need to check with me that I have a good understanding of. There may be things that you are presenting with that you may want to focus on.
It is also good to think of appropriate questions that you may need to know about me before starting therapy with me or any other therapist. My important rule to life is that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
Lots of clients talk about their initial session being the most difficult part of getting started. In the initial session I ask questions from a curious place of wanting to understand what you are presenting with and your life experience better. For some clients this can leave them feeling quite vulnerable and exposed. This session is us both working out if this is the right time for you to begin therapy. Are you ready to engage in the therapeutic process? What is your experience of previous therapy and are you able to engage in my style or approach?
My approach is more relational and is more a two-way conversation. There may be times when I may need to explore one particular area of what you are presenting better and may need to ask more questions to understand. Please understand that this is from a place of curiosity not judgement. Though it may be the first time in your life that you have had someone generally interested in an aspect of your life, this can leave you feeling vulnerable and part of the session I will explore what support systems you have in place. This is to ensure that you have other support that you can pull on during our therapeutic work together.
Themes we may explore in Initial Meeting:
- What is bringing you to therapy and your understanding of how your wellbeing or mental health has been?
- What is your understanding of what you are presenting with?
- Have you had experience of therapy or gaining support before, and how has this experience been?
- What is your experience of relationships and is that part of what you want to explore?
- What does your original family or carer relationship look like and what is this relationship like for you now?
- What diversity are you bringing and what is your experience of this?
- For your health and safety, I will ask questions around suicidality or self-harm.
- If alcohol and drugs are part of your presentation, I will ask you about your experience of these.
- Any family loss or mental health issues I need to be aware of?
- I will ask about work, education, hobbies, what you love and like about your life?
- What is your objectives of therapy?
- What would you like to focus on?
I have written this to help you think through if you are ready to begin this journey of exploration with me or any other therapist. I look forward to welcoming you and working with you. Whatever you decide I wish you well, warm wishes Chai – Yoel Korn.