Dr. Joshua Shuman is a psychologist who understands what a big leap of faith it can be to seek therapy, especially for the first time. As we turn the page from 2022 to 2023, many people have made resolutions to better themselves in the new year. This often leads to therapy. Josh Shuman wants to provide insights that will make the experience of going to a psychologist much less foreboding.
People who seek out a psychologist should commend themselves for their efforts. The easiest thing to do is nothing. When a person decides to improve, they should acknowledge how special it is to attempt to better themselves. When a person enters the world of therapy with an open heart and a positive attitude, they can likely see results quicker. Josh Shuman believes one of the quickest ways to improve a mental state is for a person to express gratitude to themselves. We all have a voice in our heads, which can be extremely negative sometimes. Taking the time to thank oneself for seeking assistance is a great way to get into a more positive headspace.
Joshua Shuman notes that most anxiety over meeting a new psychologist can be traced back to the fear of the unknown. One of the best ways to lessen that fear is to prepare. Preparation for a first psychologist visit starts with setting goals. Josh Shuman can’t give examples of goals as they should be different for everyone based on their unique struggles and aspirations. Writing down what a person hopes to gain from therapy will help structure the first session and make it easier to open up during the initial session. It is possible that a psychologist will need to work to help a person discover the root cause of why they sought out therapy. And it’s okay for the goals to shift along the way.
Dr. Josh Shuman encourages any new patient to be kind to themselves. Instead of getting frustrated by nerves before a session, a patient should lean into those feelings and bring them up at the start. Psychologists are well-versed in discussing anxiety and why patients are nervous about their first meeting. Even if a person can’t break through and talk as much as they would have hoped in their first session, there’s no need for that person to be discouraged. Pledging to continue to come back is the best thing a person can do for themselves. As time progresses, the patient’s comfort level will grow.
One of the biggest misconceptions of therapy is that it provides an immediate solution. Wouldn’t an easy fix be nice! Unfortunately, this is not the case. Results happen over time and can take multiple sessions throughout multiple months. No one is perfect, so it is important that the goal isn’t perfection. The goal should always be a steady improvement. When a person enters therapy with realistic expectations, they understand that they aren’t heading to therapy for immediate healing – they are heading to therapy for improvement. People should also understand that it is completely normal for a person to meet with a few different psychologists before deciding on the best doctor for their needs.
Joshua Shuman cites that people can often tell they haven’t made a connection with a psychologist when they don’t feel comfortable being open and honest with their psychologist. It is counterproductive to hold back in a therapy session. If there’s no connection between a patient and their psychologist, it is better for the patient to explore other options. Not only should patients feel comfortable discussing their problems, but they should also ask questions about everything from payment plans to the number of sessions required.
Dr. Shuman is glad that you’re considering therapy and hopes that this information helps you to take that first step toward self-improvement.
The content of this article is for informational or educational purposes only, and should not be a substitute for professional psychological advice or consultation.