New to Therapy Q&A
What is an Associate therapist?
An Associate is someone who’s obtained a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling or a related field and has chosen to pursue a clinical license. A Licensed Social Work Associate Clinical (LSWAIC) must gain 4,000 hours of postgraduate experience and 130 hours of direct supervision before getting fully licensed. Once they’ve accrued the hours they can then take the Licensure exam to get fully licensed.
how should I prepare for my consultation call?
The consulation call is a great time to feel out a therapist. Just know, you are not obligated to move forward with them just because you’ve made it this far–think of this as a first date because finding a therapist sometimes feels like that. The therapist will come with their own set of questions so you should come with your own too. During this time, you’ll both be deciding if you’re a good fit for one another. The therapeutic relationship is an intimate one, so it’s important for you to be a part of the process every step of the way.
How do I know if a therapist is a good fit for me?
Meeting someone new can be…so many things. If you feel at ease talking with a new therapist, then that’s great, keep going! For many, it can take a while to get comfortable especially for anyone who is new to therapy. That’s all to say that comfort is not always the determining factor for a working relationship. As long as you’re open to building a relationship with your therapist and they are meeting your needs as a client then you can can reap the benefits of therapy. There may be instances where you have to go through a few therapists to find the right one for you and that’s okay too–that’s just a part of your process.
It’s important to keep in mind that you might have moments in therapy where you and your therapist don’t agree or have misunderstandings. Therapy is a safe place to work through these bumps and it should be done with your best interest in mind. So, don’t get discouraged if something is off, just make sure to bring it up to your therapist when that happens.
Tip: If you’re not sure what your needs are as a client, start by jotting down what’s most important to you in a therapist. Idenitfy what’s a hard yes, a hard no and any thing in between. This can be helpful no matter where you’re at in your process (i.e.research vs. session 3). This can help shape your ideas, inform you of any questions you may have and help you to decide if/how you want to move forward
Your list can include shared values (fat body-allied, anti-racist, etc.) or interests/passions (mindfulness, art, etc.). Specializations (co-dependency, anxiety, etc.). A therapist’s identity is also important since all of that will be coming into session along with your own intersecting identies (non-binary, religious, etc.).
What should I expect For the intake session?
Once you’ve completed the intake forms you’re ready for your intake session. You’re still getting to know your therapist so it’s normal to get nervous. The intake session will mainly be about you so be prepared to share as much of yourself as you can. The goal of the session is not only for your therapist to get to know you, but to establish goals for therapy and identify the ways you cope with stress. Be curious, ask questions and stay grounded. The intake is longer than a standard session, but it should never feel overhwhelming.
Should I prepare for Sessions?
Unless you and your therapist agreed on you doing ‘homework’, then no. Just bring yourself–and I mean all of yourself! If you just got out the shower, out of bed, or the opposite, you’re all dressed up. Show up. Show up with your blanket, while sitting outside, or laying down, whatever helps you to engage. Therapy can only work if you show up (literally and metaphorically).
We have enough things in the world telling us how we need to look, how to sound, or how to be! There’s no need to reinforce those harmful narratives in sessions. As a therapist, I want my clients to feel comfortable and to be themselves just as much as I want that for myself and for my practice.