What is Counseling Like?

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

What are therapy and counseling sessions like? 
You may have to attend your sessions either at hospitals your therapist’s clinic. Sometimes, therapists do pay you a home visit, but that generally is a more expensive proposition. You can expect these sessions to last for about an hour and they can range from as often as bi-weekly basis to about bi-monthly basis depending upon the treatment and your therapist’s approach. 

Your first couple of sessions with your therapist most likely would be that where he tries to educate himself about your problems and your history. You too on the other hand should evaluate your session with him. You should try to clarify to him exactly what you are willing to achieve through therapy, so that you can both work together towards that goal as a team. 

During the first couple of sessions, you must measure your level of comfort and trust with your therapist. So basically you have to know whether: 
-- you are being able to undilutedly share your thoughts and feelings with him 
-- you are comfortable sharing personal and private information with him 

a. When you start off with your first session, there are chances that you might not feel the right click with your therapists. You must absolutely not settle for it if you aren’t feeling the required level of comfort with your therapist. Move on immediately and look out for another therapist 

b. Expect a significant amount of personal contribution to healing yourself through therapy. This isn’t like any other illness where the doctor would work on your body or give you pills to alleviate pain. Your therapist will guide you through the relief, but you will need to actively play a good enough part to pull yourself out. 

c. Attending counseling sessions with your therapists doesn’t mean that the time you spend there would be pain relieving always. Do expect negative feelings and thoughts from the past to come up that will hurt you. However, it is a process of healing. You must communicate to your therapist what you are feeling and what is troubling you. Not only will he guide you through his routine methods, but he communicating with him will educate him better about your state of affairs. 

d. There are chances that the hospital or your therapist’s clinic might not give you the required level of comfort to open up completely and be yourself. If such a problem persists, do raise it with your therapist.

How long does therapy last? 
This is a very relative question to be addressed. Some people who either have a grave problem can go on for close to about 3-4 months, while others with relatively less complex issues may even wrap up within a month. The other factor that can limit your length of therapy is the cost associated with it and how long you can endure that cost. You, however, must set a maximum time period for yourself, which is also reasonable. Setting such a goal helps you from falling into the same loop over and over again. It is not to pressurize yourself and can be modified as your treatment progresses.

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