Loudoun Counseling & Coaching, LLC
21155 Whitefield Place
Sterling, VA 20165
Mental health professional often talk to individuals about seeking therapy when they are in some type of emotional or mental distress, or experiencing mental health issues or diagnosis of mental illness. However, talking about what therapy is to help individuals understand the therapy process is often not been included.
So, what is therapy? Therapy is a collaborative, professional relationship between the individual (client) seeking services for some mental health related concern and the therapist providing those services. This relationship is collaborative as the client and therapist are working together to help the client develop healthy coping strategies to manage symptoms of mental illness and reduce distress, improve satisfaction with life and daily functioning, and gain insight into their situation.
In this collaborative relationship, the client has rights and responsibilities that include the right to receive competent services and a responsibility to be actively engaged in the therapy process; and the therapist has certain responsibilities to the client that are governed by the licensing board of their respective industry. During the first session, the therapist should clearly review these rights and responsibilities with the client in a way that the client can understand.
In addition to therapy being a collaborative relationship, it is also an active process. This means that both the client and therapist have things to do in the therapy process. The client should come to the therapy sessions and engage in the strategies/techniques employed by the therapist, as well as practice the skills and complete the homework outside of sessions. As a note, therapists will sometimes assign homework to clients outside of therapy sessions to help them build skills to manage their symptoms in a healthy manner and reduce distress. In this active process, the therapist will use evidence-based strategies and techniques to address the mental health needs of the client.
If you are experiencing significant distress that is impacting your daily functioning, please seek help from a licensed mental health professional in your area. It is appropriate to ask for a telephone consultation prior to the first appointment with a therapist to help you understand their approach to the therapy process.