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Taking the First Step in Starting Therapy

So, you have decided to take the first step on your journey towards healing—congratulations! Maybe you started with a Google search and explored different therapists in your area. Maybe you called your insurance company and they provided you with a list of local therapists. Or maybe loved ones in your life have provided you with resources and now you are here—taking that first step! You have made a brave decision, and perhaps you are wondering what happens next? What can you expect from starting therapy? The first session is typically focused on understanding what specifically is bringing you to therapy at this time, what symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and how these symptoms and situations may be impacting areas of your life such as occupational, social, and other important areas of functioning. Next, we may look at the interconnection between biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors as a way of getting an idea of the whole picture and understand the “4 P’s”.

What are the “4 P’s”? Predisposing, Precipitating, Perpetuating, and Protective factors: Predisposing factors are those factors which indicate that a person may be vulnerable to developing a problem. An example of a predisposing factor may be growing up with alcoholic parents. Precipitating factors are factors that trigger the onset of a problem or symptom. One example may be going through a divorce. Perpetuating factors are those that maintain the problem once it has become established. For example, occupational or financial stress. Protective factors are the strengths that help to buffer and provide support. An example may be strong social connections or access to community resources.

Therapists also want to start creating a treatment plan, which will outline goals, objectives, and particular interventions used during the course of therapy. It is typical to start working with your therapist one hour per week as you commit to putting in the work to accomplish your therapeutic goals. Eventually, you may decrease frequency of sessions depending on your own personal needs and preference.

The therapy hour is your scheduled time to have a safe space to open up about what struggles you may be facing, to express painful emotions, to learn and practice coping skills, receive psychoeducation, start to challenge your thoughts, and align your actions with your own personal values.

Here at 253 Therapy and Consult, we believe that a strong therapeutic relationship positively impacts outcome and we strive to connect with our clients and provide empathic listening, unconditional positive regard, and genuine support. So, thank you for taking that first step. We welcome you and invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation and take the next step in your journey.

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