What is therapy like?

For many CAPS clients, this is their first time ever going to therapy. Aside from maybe seeing some dramatic portrayals in a show or talking to someone about therapy, lots of people have no idea what actually happens during a session or appointment. While no two people are going to have the exact same experience in therapy, here are some things you can expect:

Before the appointment

Your assigned therapist will look over your intake paperwork to get a better sense of you – your struggles and goals, any past traumas you described, etc.

During the intake (initial) appointment

Every therapist has a different approach to starting an initial session. The first session is often about getting to know you better, and the context for what brings you to therapy. Don’t worry about getting it “right,” or saying the “wrong” thing. And don’t worry if you feel like you’re rambling; all the things you share help your therapist better understand where you’re coming from, which helps them be able to help you. Your therapist will likely ask you questions every now and then. What you share about the things you’ve experienced, how it’s impacted you, your thoughts and feelings – all of that is helpful information.

Note: It’s completely your call what happens after the initial appointment. Sometimes, students feel their needs have been met with just one meeting. That’s great! Others come to therapy for pretty deep-seated/painful issues, like trauma; those folks may want to meet weekly. And some people are doing okay overall, but appreciate the option to check in every so often when they need some extra support. Whether it’s weekly, biweekly, as-needed, or just the one appointment – it’s your call.

During subsequent appointments

If you choose to continue your therapy sessions, you and your therapist will work on the issues you want to focus on. Therapy can look like processing or unpacking experiences – talking through them, recognizing how they’ve impacted you, learning healthy coping mechanisms, adding “tools to your toolbelt” to help you deal with similar adversity in the future, etc. Some people are working towards forgiving themselves; processing a harmful romantic relationship; managing their anxiety; healing from childhood trauma; difficulties in their sport or other extracurricular; and so many other topics. Therapy can help you process, understand yourself and your mind better, heal, gain skills in navigating difficult situations, and more.

Click here to learn more about requesting an appointment.