It seems as though most of the time when people feel the need to start therapy, they either ask someone they know where they go, or look up someone through insurance and just hope for the best.
When you have the recommendation from a friend, it could be reassuring that someone out there knows this therapist and has worked with them, but there is still quite a bit of room for guessing. You’re choosing a person who you are going to be talking to about intimate details, feelings and private material, but you have no idea who they are… And to top it off, you normally aren’t sure how a session is supposed to go, because it’s all very subjective. How much is the therapist supposed to talk, ask, write, smile, stare, etc? Are you supposed to sit up, or lay down? Do you talk about the heavy stuff right off the bat, or ease into it? All of these feelings and questions are 100% normal, and you have a right to ask yourself all of these and more.
Let your instincts guide you
Most people decide within approximately a minute or two, how comfortable they feel talking with someone. It’s instinctual. Many times because people come into therapy with a lot of confusion and self-doubt, they may not listen to that voice inside them that says “I don’t like how this therapist feels; I am too anxious; I am scared; This therapist is never going to understand me.” And I can’t tell you how many times I have heard patient’s say they had tried therapy once before with someone they didn’t really “click with” but stuck to it because they thought that was how it’s supposed to be. Awkward, scary, quiet.
Think about it this way, you have choices in those moments (we almost always do). If you feel yourself having clear thoughts of discontent and awkwardness, you may want to try voicing it to the therapist with a phrase such as “I’m feeling anxious, it’s pretty quiet in here; I don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about.” If that doesn’t feel realistic, then another choice is to simply take your feelings seriously and call around, talk to other therapists, ask questions on the phone, see what feels right to you.
This is such an essential ingredient in therapy: Trust! It starts the moment you have contact with that person, that first phone call or moment you sit down to talk, trust yourself, follow that gut feeling about who you can imagine yourself really opening up to. There should be tension in the room, because you are sitting with a new person, a stranger really, and you have all kinds of feelings and thoughts to slowly share. But the tension should feel productive, interesting, and challenging. When you find it, you will feel it “click” within yourself.
Therapist in Union Square NYC
Welcome. I’m Andrea Cornell, a licensed therapist in Union Square NYC. As a holistic therapist, I offer counseling and psychotherapy that tends to the mind, body, and soul. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me.