After Session One, Try Asking This
Sometimes, at the end of your first (or any!) therapy session, you might wonder if you should continue the work. Therapy can be a relief. It also has the potential to add some financial burden, it can be hard to find the time, and it can take a little while to build the relationship you need to feel comfortable sharing things you wish you didn’t have to share. If you’re wondering, why bother? Or you’re not sure it’s ‘working’ or what that would even look like, try asking this:
How do you feel at the end of your session? We don’t always feel ‘better’ at the end of a session, because sometimes being in a therapy session means feeling something we didn’t want to feel, or thinking about something we didn’t want to think about. In our culture, ‘better’ often involves a temporary kind of relief (think: drugs/alcohol, sex, tv, work…) and if you’re reading this then it is likely that you have come to understand that this kind of relief often has the effect of helping our problems grow. Avoidance is a powerful multiplier. Instead, spending time with a skilled therapist means that afterwards, there is some kind of shift. Something is not how it was before. Can you notice it?
After the session, do you feel different?
Are you a little less convinced that crying in front of someone will make them dislike you?
Do you want to seek closeness with your partner, or by calling a friend on the phone, when you otherwise haven’t been wanting to?
How is your breath? Are you able to breath a little more deeply, or a little more freely, or a little more often?
Can you feel access to your smile, or your rest, or your sense of self, or your anger, in a way that has recently felt impossible?
Part of what happens during a therapy session is more than talking. Your therapist and you are sharing each other’s presence, spending time in a new way. You are getting to feel a different energy, a different approach to life, a different kind of being present that your therapist has cultivated over long hours on the very same journey you might be just beginning. This happens with or without words, and there is no way to interrupt it or do it wrong.
Is how you feel at the end of your session something you’d like to move towards, or away from?
Consider that. And if you’re feeling extra brave, talk to your therapist about what that means for you.
Let's walk together.