Sometimes, due to very different circumstances in life, we find ourselves having problems when dealing with our emotions and feelings. Our psychological well-being suffers to a point where advice and support from our environment (if available) does not reach. Then we can consider going to the psychologist .
Although in recent years the figure of these professionals has been on the rise and they are becoming more and more known, there are many doubts that may arise when deciding to go to a consultation for the first time.
Below we will solve some of these possible questions whose unknown could be preventing us from getting the help we need.
Do I have a disorder from going to the psychologist?
Absolutely not, and even if it were, it wouldn’t mean anything either. A diagnosis is a code that professionals use to communicate with each other but it does not determine who you are .
The only thing that a person has a diagnosis of anorexia or major depression means is that their problem has characteristics that fit into one of the categories in the classification manuals. This categorization allows another professional to know what is most striking about the problem when reading your report and, on the other hand, it can help when deciding what could be the best approach.
We must leave behind the idea that going to the psychologist is crazy. Going for a consultation is taking care of our mental health .
Is it normal to feel nervous at the first consultation?
Absolutely yes . And there could even be nervousness in one of the successive consultations. It is a completely normal feeling when we are faced with it for the first time.
As much as acquaintances or internet portals explain to us how simple it will be and how good it will be for us, there are some things that we do not believe until we experience them .
The important thing is that you do not let fear stop you and dare to go to your first consultation.
What does the psychologist do in the first session?
In the first time the most important thing on the part of the psychologist is active listening . This consists of attending to the history that the person in consultation brings with him and asking questions that make it easier for him to express himself.
You may not know exactly what to say or how to say it when being a first time. In short, what can the healthcare professional be expecting of you. None of that, the only thing the psychologist hopes is that he can make you feel safe in his office .
It is essential to establish a climate of trust and security that allows you to tell what your problem is. An environment in which you know that you will not be judged , nor will you be held guilty of anything.
From this story, the psychologist will ask more questions to clarify the situation and perhaps already outlining which treatment approach could be more useful .
What are the formal aspects that usually mark a first consultation?
Typically, the session begins with an exchange of greetings . It is also usual to ask if you have gone to a psychological consultation before for this or another problem.
Other aspects that the professionals make clear in session are:
– How is your way of working : the duration of the sessions and their frequency (the first time you go, it may be longer), if the completion of what they call “homework” will be indicated , if there will be family members in consultation if necessary and accepted by the client …
– What psychological school are : although the most widespread and accepted today (by more empirical weight) are the therapies of behavioral or cognitive behavioral counseling, there are other schools in psychology and family therapy (which is not family therapy) or psychoanalysis.
– What ethical aspects govern the professional relationship : psychologists are governed, as in other professions, by a code of ethics . Among the different articles, the following stand out:
– The relationship with the clinician will be restricted to the field of therapy . Although it sounds obvious, it is important to remember that the clinician is a trusted and helpful person, but not a friend, much less a potential partner. If this is the case, it should be communicated by either party and if you want to start a romantic relationship, the therapy should be carried out by another professional.
– The collection of information will not go beyond the relevant areas for solving the problem . If you go for consultation with a problem with a coworker that is pushing you to the limit, it does not make sense for them to ask in detail about your sex life or the relationship with your cousins.
– Everything that is said in the consultation will be protected by professional secrecy (unless the psychological evaluation has been required by a judge).
– The psychologist has the obligation to protect all your personal data and keep it private , including the notes taken in consultation. In this regard, we must be careful if we receive online copy and make sure that we are working with a suitable program. It is well known that Skype or WhatsApp are not the safest in terms of privacy.
– You will be given a report with the conclusions and recommendations based on the evaluation . This can be presented orally, in writing, or both. In case you want a written report, even if it is only for you, you have the right to request it. It will list what the problem is, what method has been used to assess it, what the results of the assessment are, and what approach is recommended.
Basic tips to follow
1 Be honest : the professional is not there to judge you but to understand you and find the best way to help you . If you are sincere, it will be easier for him to find a way to be useful to you.
2 If you do not feel comfortable, look for another professional who is a better fit : It is not like curing a throat infection that any professional works for us (and even so we do better with one with whom we feel good). You may not fit in with the first psychologist you go to. Being so personal it is very important to establish a good relationship .
3 Do not advance conclusions : maintaining a good relationship with your psychologist is essential to obtain good therapeutic results, but do not let yourself be irrationally carried away by your first impression. Don’t confuse being comfortable with someone with feeling better from the get-go .
4 Accept the changes: the psychologist will not say what you want to hear or will focus on comforting you. Part of the fact that you are in a situation that you want to change, so it will confront you with reality, although it may be uncomfortable, and it will advise you on changes that may go beyond what you had planned.