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Everybody has a different mental health journey and experiences that have helped them grow and feel more in control of their emotional state. Personally, talk therapy has been and continues to be one of the most essential parts of my journey to understand myself, those around me, and how I interact with the world. 

Although I initially started therapy as a young child after being diagnosed with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, I continued to attend therapy on and off throughout my childhood. Now, I attend therapy weekly and use it as a tool to process my thoughts and feelings and manage anxiety.

I also want to note there are various forms of therapies, including but not limited to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neurofeedback therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy. 

Talk therapy may not work for everybody; however, if you are interested in trying to talk therapy, here are some of the things I would recommend to someone who is going for the first time: 

Try Not To Worry About How Much or How Little You Are Talking 

The idea of someone sitting and listening to you talk about anything you want may sound comforting, terrifying, or both. It is important to remember that you can speak as much or as little as you want, even if you may not do so in your day-to-day life with those around you. When you first get to know your therapist, it may be common to talk a lot to cover your history and information about your life. For example, your therapist may ask about your family members, experiences with relationships and friendships, feelings about your career or home life, and more. These questions help your therapist gain insight into who you are and what has happened in your life so they can better work with you.

Make It About You (It Should Be)

Sometimes, it can be frowned upon to speak only about yourself, but it’s the opposite in talk therapy, especially during your first few sessions. Your new therapist wants to learn about you: your story, who you are, who you want to be, and anything else you want to share. Therapy is a great time to speak honestly about your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. If you have experienced guilt for speaking up for yourself, therapy may be an adjustment, which is okay. Your therapist is a safe space to speak about you and not be afraid that you will be seen as selfish or self-absorbed. 

Feel Free to Share Scary Thoughts 

As someone who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I have felt great fear about divulging some of my more taboo thoughts and obsessions. In therapy, the practitioner will not judge you for sharing these pieces of information, even if you’re worried they will. When I first started sharing some of my more intense intrusive thoughts, I was terrified of being judged, and my therapist handled it exceptionally well by reassuring me that they were not there to judge my thoughts. 

Therapists help to help validate experiences and allow patients to process their inner feelings. Given this, the scary, taboo thoughts that may seem difficult to share with anybody are not going to be judged by a therapist. In my opinion, this can be one of the most liberating parts of therapy.

Losing Your Train of Thought Is Okay

Sometimes, it takes effort to stay focused when relaying thoughts, feelings, or experiences. In therapy, it’s completely okay to lose your train of thought and have to come back to ideas multiple times. In specifically traumatic situations, we may remember things in bits and pieces rather than as a whole. Processing emotionally charged events can take time and may be challenging to return to, so being unable to relay every piece of information is okay. Your therapist is there to help you feel as comfortable as possible and give you the space and time to remember things at your own pace.

You Don’t Need to Explain Everything 

As humans, we may want to explain why we do what we do or why we are the way we are. Your therapist will ask more questions if appropriate, but you are not obligated to explain everything or offer more information. Your therapist may ask questions to get to know you better, and you are always welcome to give as much or as little information as you would like. Also, you can always tell your therapist you would rather not discuss a topic and create any boundaries you see fit. 

You May Not Align With The First Therapist 

Finding a therapist that fits your needs and wants can be tricky. I typically tell my friends that they may need to try multiple therapists before finding someone that they feel aligns with them. For instance, some therapists specialize in specific disorders or experiences, which can help narrow down the type of therapist someone may better connect with. In the past, I have looked for therapists who have experience or specialize with OCD or generalized anxiety disorder because they better understand the way I process information. 

These tips are all from my personal experience; if you have talk therapy experience, yours may differ entirely. However, I hope sharing this helps alleviate anxiety for someone who may be a little fearful or starting therapy for the first time. I also hope that if you do try talk therapy, you find it beneficial for you and your mental health. 


  • Cara Leto

    I lack confidence. So, I am going to try this therapy. Thank you for posting this content because this will help me a lot in gaining confidence to talk on stage.

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