What is Individual Therapy?
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What is Individual Therapy?



Wondering what therapy is all about?


What to expect from therapy before starting therapy

Commonly-asked questions to keep you informed about how to get the most out of therapy.





What should I expect from counseling?



Your therapist (also known as a counselor) is a licensed mental health professional. They can be licensed as a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, counselor, social worker, psychiatrist, or nurse.


Some people go to therapy (also called psychotherapy and counseling) to address long-term issues they’ve lived with for much of their lives, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. 


For others, the needs are more immediate: Stress at home or in the workplace, difficulties dealing with the important people in their lives, life transitions like breaking off a long-term relationship or losing a job, coping with a cancer diagnosis, or the feelings of grief and loss that come with losing a family member. 


Whether you’re struggling with a long-term issue or a short-term concern, it’s important for you to recognize that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 


You should also realize that mental health conditions and illnesses are more common than most people think. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental illness in the United States in any given year. 


Therapy is a great tool to help you improve your mental health and well-being and become the best version of yourself. 


There are many different types of therapy that can lead to a variety of changes, from behavioral therapy to learning coping skills to relationship therapy and many others.


What should you tell your visit to a therapist?


The first session is about getting the background and goals, and is all about getting to know each other. 


This session may also be called a diagnostic assessment, because your therapist will ask lots of questions about the concerns that brought you to therapy and, in most cases, will be able to diagnose the issue. 


The diagnosis will help guide the course of treatment.


You and your therapist will also discuss your goals, and what you feel comfortable focusing on in your sessions. 


Not sure what your goals are? No worries! Your therapist will help you explore this and together you can develop a plan for the weeks ahead, with attainable goals and milestones for you to focus on. 


This plan, called a treatment plan, will describe each of the things you’re going to work on together, and it helps the therapy stay on track.


Online Therapy

What should you not tell a therapist?


Do not tell a therapist anything you do not want them to know. Other than that, you can tell them anything you feel comfortable saying.


Remember that therapists are bound by certain state and federal laws, called “mandated reporter” laws that limit the confidentiality of therapy. Inquire with your therapist about their specific requirements.



What makes good therapy?


One of the most important things you’ll want to consider in the early stages of therapy is your connection with the therapist. Do you feel your therapist is a good fit for you?


Research has shown that the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in the success of the therapy. 


Don’t be afraid to let your therapist know if something isn’t’ working for you. 


Your therapist should, of course, be a good listener, but also be non-judgmental. A good therapist is one that focuses on their client primarily. 


Therapy is a place where you can be open and honest and trust that what you share will remain confidential. 


This is quite different from confiding in a friend or family member, as you don’t have to worry about saying the “wrong” thing or hurting someone’s feelings.


And in ways that no one else you know could or would, your therapist will be honest and open with you and not just tell you what you want to hear.



What should I talk to my therapist about?


After your initial session, subsequent sessions may focus on what’s coming up for you between sessions in terms of thoughts, feeling, and behaviors.


Your therapist will help you problem-solve challenges and hold you accountable for making positive changes. 


You may be given “homework” to do between sessions, which might mean tasks for you to work on every day.


While it can be difficult to talk about these challenges, the reward is making changes that will improve your life. 



How long does therapy take to work?


Many people wonder how long they’ll be in therapy. According to the American Psychological Association, this really depends on the individual and the concerns they are addressing in therapy. 


For people with lifelong issues, the therapeutic relationship might last for months or even years. For others – particularly those who are working through a rough patch in their lives – the goal of therapy is to get you back on track, which may happen in a matter of weeks or months. 


Certain issues can be addressed with a quick fix, but most take some investment of time and attention.




Is it normal to cry in therapy?


Yes, it’s normal to cry in a therapy session; people do it all the time. Also, some people don’t cry in session. The majority of people cry at least once, however, so no need to feel badly if you do.



Can therapists tell when you are lying?


Although therapists have very good people skills, therapists can still be tricked and manipulated. However, therapists can also see truths that you are unaware of or are unwilling to admit.


The only therapists that can always tell if they are being lied to are the therapists that work at ALL IN It’s a superpower we have. So, don’t try to sneak one past us.



Can therapists hug their client? Are therapists allowed to hug?


Therapists can hug their clients, but only if that is something the client wants. Some therapists don’t hug their clients for a variety of reasons. It really just depends on the relationship with your therapist and the client desire to build. Feel free to discuss that with your therapist.


There is no law or rule prohibiting a client and a therapist to hug.


Now what?


And now that you know all the reasons people might want to seek therapy, and what to expect for those first few sessions, why not give therapy a try


Feel free to reach out to us anytime to find a therapist for you. We’re here to set up your first appointment, or to answer any other questions you may have. 



Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. We publish quality material for your own education. Our publications are researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.

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