Getting started in therapy for the first time can create feelings of nervousness. There are certain behaviors that are generally considered normal and expected. Below are some examples of behaviors that help create a safe and productive therapeutic environment.
1. Confidentiality: Therapists are bound by professional ethics to maintain client confidentiality. It is normal to expect that what you discuss in therapy will be kept private unless there is a legal or safety concern. 2. Openness and honesty: It is important to be open and honest with your therapist. Sharing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly allows them to understand your situation better and provide appropriate guidance. 3. Emotional expression: Therapy is a space where you can express your emotions freely. It is normal to feel a range of emotions during therapy sessions, and therapists are trained to help you navigate and process those emotions. 4. Active participation: Therapy is most effective when clients actively engage in the process. This involves participating in conversations, asking questions, and providing feedback to your therapist. 5. Setting goals: Collaboratively setting goals with your therapist is a normal part of therapy. Discussing what you hope to achieve and working together to develop a treatment plan can guide the therapeutic process. 6. Challenging thoughts and behaviors: Therapy often involves exploring and challenging unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. It is normal to question your beliefs and habits as you work towards personal growth and change. 7. Silence and reflection: Silence is common in therapy sessions, as it allows for reflection and processing. Therapists may intentionally create moments of silence to give you time to gather your thoughts or explore deeper emotions. 8. Seeking clarification: If you don't understand something your therapist said or need further explanation, it is normal to ask for clarification. Therapy should be a collaborative process, and your therapist should be open to addressing your questions or concerns. 9. Resistance: Feeling resistance or discomfort is not uncommon in therapy. It can arise when exploring challenging topics or facing difficult emotions. Your therapist is trained to support you through these moments and help you navigate them. 10. Termination: Ending therapy is a normal part of the therapeutic process. It can happen when you have achieved your goals, or when you and your therapist mutually agree that it is time to conclude the therapy. It is normal to experience mixed emotions during this transition.