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Common questions about seeking therapy

1. Why go to therapy when I can just get advice from friends and family? 

Leaning on friends and family certainly can be helpful.  That said, therapists are professionally trained to help you explore and discuss your difficulties and develop solutions to your particular problems. They have expertise in helping you express and evaluate your feelings, focusing entirely on you without bringing their own needs into the mix.

Psychotherapy is a treatment process that is often very useful in helping people cope with their problems.  Meeting with a therapist provides you an opportunity to receive feedback from a licensed professional who is skilled at listening and providing guidance.

2. How do I choose the right therapist?

Here is what you need to know when selecting a therapist:

It’s important to feel that there is a good fit between your personality and your therapist’s personality. There are many skilled therapists out there, which means there is not only one therapist who is “right” for you.  Like all people, therapists have different personalities, styles, office setting, and approaches.  Find one you are comfortable with, one you can trust, and one who helps you grow.  We generally recommend meeting with a therapist for 2-3 sessions before deciding to continue or discontinue sessions with that therapist.

3. What should I talk about in counseling?

You should feel free to talk about anything that you’d like to share with your therapist. Not sure what to talk about in counseling? Here are a few ideas to get started.

4. How long are counseling sessions? 

This depends on the therapist, but typically sessions are 50 minutes.  

5. How often will I meet with my therapist? 

While the success of psychotherapy depends on various factors, one of the most important is continuity of sessions.  To be most useful at the beginning, sessions with your therapist usually take place at least on a weekly basis. With time, sessions may take place every couple of weeks, depending on your needs and your therapist’s approach.

6. Will my therapist ask me a lot of questions in therapy?

This depends on the style and training of your therapist. Some therapists will conduct an “intake,” also known as a biopsychosocial assessment, in the first session.  During the intake process, you will be asked questions about topics like family background, mental health history, physical health, education, career, and substance use history.  Other therapists will wait for you to begin talking or they’ll begin the session with a simple question like, “So what brings you in today?” There isn’t a right or wrong approach.  You want to find a therapist whose style fits with your personality.

7. What if I don’t want to talk about certain topics?

That’s not a problem! If your therapist asks you a question that you don’t want to answer, just tell them that you’re not ready to discuss it.  Perhaps, you can circle back to that topic down the road when you’re ready.

8. What if I feel like my therapist is judging me?

Therapists have a great deal of training on developing a nonjudgmental stance.  Your therapist should provide a safe, accepting space in which you feel free to explore all types of thoughts and feelings.

Throughout their training, coursework, clinical supervision, and their own therapy, psychotherapists become experienced at keeping their opinions and feelings in check as they work with clients. They are trained to thoughtfully and carefully listen with an open mind.

Of course, therapists are human beings with their own opinions and beliefs.  Keep in mind that some therapists provide religion-based therapy, and usually they state that on their website. For example, they might identify as a “Christian counselor.” Metta Counseling is not affiliated with any religion and is open to working with all lifestyles.


9. What should I do if my therapist upsets me?

If your therapist upsets you, you should bring it to their attention.  Even if you wait until a later session to bring it up, it’s better than ignoring it.  If you feel that you’re being judged or criticized, let your therapist know.  For example, you could say something like, “In our session last week, I felt like you were judging me when I told you that I smoke marijuana.  Can we talk about that?”

A well-trained therapist will be able to respond empathically to you and will be open to exploring your feelings about the interactions between the two of you.  A well-trained therapist will also be able to own their part in the interaction. Often, an open and honest conversation about your interaction can enhance your work together long-term.

10. What education and licensing do your therapists have?

All Metta therapists are licensed mental health professionals with at least one graduate degree in social work or psychology. They also have post-graduate training in various topics, including trauma, grief and loss, post-partum counseling, psychodynamic counseling, and mind-body integrative medicine.

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