"What If I'm Not a Good Client?" and Other Thoughts about Starting Therapy

Photo by Kira auf der Heide

Beginning therapy can feel terrifying.

“You want me to share details about my life, talk about my feelings and unveil my secrets with a stranger?”

Well, sort of.

Therapy is about building a healthy, trusting relationship.

I don’t expect any client to trust me immediately. Initially we are focused on getting to know each other. Are we a good fit? Does my experience match your needs? Do you feel comfortable?

It can take 4 - 6 weeks to settle in to the therapy process.

So much of therapy is about diving into the unknown. Art therapy has the ability to explore the unconscious, the experiences that exist under your cognitive “thinking” brain. It takes trust to feel safe enough to tap into these experiences, thoughts and feelings. So, it’s important to take it slowly.

Building a relationship in therapy allows you to practice healthy boundaries, communication and self-advocacy. It is within this relationship that you will grow.

You may be wondering, “What if I’m not a good client?”

A “good” client doesn’t actually exist; there are no “good” or “bad” ways to participate in therapy. Therapy does require commitment and a openness to explore your experiences. Each person’s experience in therapy will differ and there is no set timeline for the healing process.

My role of therapist is to support you, offer my expertise, and help you explore your healing process further.

How do I find a therapist who is a good fit?

I’ve mentioned several times the concept of establishing a relationship with a therapist who is a good fit. But what does that actually mean?

Therapy works best if you feel comfortable and safe.

You may also consider a therapist’s expertise. For example, finding a therapist with training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders is important if you are struggling with postpartum anxiety.

Sometimes connection isn’t quite explainable. Trust your intuition. After all, this is for you.

Adele Stuckey, LPC, ATR-BC is a Board Certified Art Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor and founder of Alexandria Art Therapy, LLC in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. She works with adults experiencing stress during life transitions, including motherhood. Read more about her practice here.