Needing to See a Therapist

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: I’ve wanted to go to a counselor for some time, but I have always been afraid of what it would be like, or if the counselor will psych me out or something like that. What really is a counseling session like? What could I expect if I went? I feel like I really need to talk with someone.

Answer: First, let me put you at ease, if someone is going to psych you out or look into your mind, that person is not a legitimate counselor or psychologist. Legitimate counselors, therapists, and psychologists live by codes of ethics, and there is nothing magical or psychic about what they do.

The first thing you will be required to do is the complete forms that include consent to proceed with the evaluation. Then, most reputable therapists will complete a Clinical Interview during your first session. Even though you may have an urgent need to get started with therapy, be patient. It is important that the therapist gets to know who you are by obtaining a thorough history of not only your presenting problem, but of your life. This is very helpful in formulating the type of therapy that may be beneficial, or possibly even a trip to a physician to rule out medical issues.

The therapeutic approach will depend on the therapist and his or her orientation. Today, it is likely that the therapist will take a cognitive-behavioral approach. This means you will be challenged with making changes both in the way you think and the way you behave. Other than the first session, you will probably be given assignments to do during the upcoming week. The purpose is to empower you to make necessary changes in your life.

My approach to therapy might be referred to as integrative. I draw upon a number of therapeutic approaches depending on the presenting problem. If it is an issue that can be resolved quickly, a solution-oriented approach may fix the problem in a few sessions. Another problem might require a cognitive-behavioral, changing the way you think and react to situations. Or, more than one orientation may be utilized as therapy proceeds,

So, if you believe you need counseling, or psychotherapy, I suggest you make an appointment with a therapist and give it a try. No one will force you to continue. Most have felt very relieved once they sat down and began to talk.

Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected].