Connecting with Your Therapist
Meeting a new therapist can sometimes feel like the worst mix of a blind date and a job interview, all in one. It’s common to have anxiety about talking to someone new about the parts of you that feel vulnerable or uncomfortable.
Your first meeting may feel a little awkward, but after a while, attending sessions becomes easier. Eventually you’ll look forward to sessions and are ready to share your good days and your bad days.
Congratulations! You have built a strong connection with your therapist.
But what if you aren’t there yet?
What if you are still in the first few sessions, and you haven’t built that connection to your therapist? How can you develop a stronger connection? And why is a connection to your therapist so important anyway?
What is a connection?
Human connection is a bond that forms when you feel heard and seen by another. When we experience a connection with someone else we feel safe and can begin to build trust and be open with that person.
In a therapeutic setting, people experience connection when they feel they can trust their therapist with deeper thoughts and emotions. Having a strong connection with your therapist doesn’t just help you in session, but can also improve your overall mental health and make you more resilient.
How can you build a connection?
Simple! Interacting, sharing interests, and even spending time in silence with others can help you build connections.
In therapy you can start to build a connection by:
- Sharing your interests. Tell your therapist things that you enjoy, discuss your strengths, and let your therapist know about what makes you proud of yourself.
- Completing a WRAP (wellness recovery action plan). Your therapist may ask to complete a WRAP with you early on in the therapeutic relationship. This plan asks you to share some of your hopes and dreams, and how you envision yourself achieving them.
- Being open about your struggles. You can also build your connection by sharing struggles you have had in the past or are currently experiencing with your therapist. Often it is easier to share smaller struggles at the beginning of a therapeutic relationship and share more intense struggles as your connection grows.
Building a connection with anyone takes time, and your connection with your therapist will be no different. If you are still at the beginning stages of your therapeutic relationship it is okay to feel awkward and nervous. You may not yet be ready to share everything, and that’s okay too. You just need to keep interacting.
Becker is a certified therapy dog through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She has undergone extensive obedience training and multiple tests/observations in order to become certified. Becker is a 2.5 year old Great Dane who… (Click for full article)
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