What Is Individual Therapy?
Individual therapy involves a therapist and one person, who collaborate to facilitate change. Typically an individual will enter therapy when they decide that their life has become unmanageable and there is a desire for change. Therapy can help a person learn how to manage their life and to learn new coping mechanisms. Many who start therapy state that they did not know what else to do.
There are many reasons why a person would seek out a therapist including substance abuse issues, difficulty with relationships, a psychiatric disorder such as depression or anxiety, or maybe to increase self-esteem or self-awareness. Whatever the reason, the relationship begins in the first session. The therapist will usually conduct an assessment and ask questions about the need to enter therapy at this point. Many individual therapy sessions begin with the therapist asking, “What brought you to therapy today?”
The therapist is there to listen in a non-judgmental way. It is important that you answer questions honestly and if you do not understand how to answer a question, ask the therapist for clarification or simply say, I don’t know. The relationship in individual therapy is one that should be built on trust and rapport. In addition, whatever you say in therapy is kept confidential. There are exceptions to this and your therapist can explain these exceptions in greater detail.
Individual therapy will involve talking and sharing memories of your childhood or things that are going on in your life today. The therapist will not ask you to answer questions that are too painful. You go at your own pace and disclose what you want until such time as you feel comfortable with this person. Therapy will involve setting goals and you can work on these together if you are unsure.
Sometimes the therapist might give you a homework assignment so that you have something to work on before the next session. Other therapists might ask you to keep a journal so that you can write down feelings, thoughts, or dreams that you experienced during the week. The therapist might ask you to share your journal but you are not obligated to do so. Due to the collaborative nature of this relationship, it might be helpful to share some of your journal entries so that the therapist can better understand your psychological makeup.
Individual therapy can be a truly remarkable experience. Through interacting with a therapist you can discover things about yourself that will change how you view the world. You may discover that you are experiencing fewer symptoms of anxiety or depression after talking with the therapist and that you are starting to feel good about yourself. The therapy process is not something to be feared. The therapist is there to listen and to not only help you with problems but to empower you to become a more self-aware individual.