Reflections for the inner life.
So you made your first counseling appointment. First, let me congratulate you on overcoming all the internal (and maybe even external) resistance that could have stood in your way. You've taken a brave and necessary step.
As a client, it is very common and normal for you to leave your first session or two wondering, "so, what's next?" The first few counseling sessions really allow you and your therapist to develop a sense of trust and rapport together.
Don't get me wrong. Lots of very powerful and helpful progress can begin to occur in that first session. At the same time though, don't underestimate the power of change that is happening at a pace much slower than our micro-waved society would prefer.
The algorithm for change (according to my friend Chip Dodd) is "willingness + patience + work + time." The more of these assets we possess, the more change we can anticipate experiencing. As another friend likes to say, "It takes a whole lot of slow to grow."
So, back to the end of your first session You've just wrapped up an hour with someone you sense could be of some good help to you. And you are walking to your car wondering, "now what?"
I'd like to recommend (not prescribe) a one very practical thing that will help your therapeutic process. Keep a journal and carry it with you. In moments when you find a few moments alone, take it out and spend some time reflecting. Maybe take an inventory of the "state of your heart." Maybe take 10 minutes to reflect on what still lingers from your first counseling session that you'd like to revisit with your therapist. A journal can be a helpful place to bring up to the surface what's been lurking below. Maybe reflect on something that resisted in you in that first session.
Take this with to your next counseling session. If it makes sense, share it with your therapist. What is happening in your life in real time is as important as what happened way, way back. It all belongs.
Then, make your second appointment. Rinse, lather, repeat until you feel like you've moved through what needs to be moved through.
Don't hesitate to process the "what's next" question with your therapist, either. Any therapist worth their salt won't feel intimidated by your question. They will sense your hunger for change and can meet you in that desire with even greater awareness.
If you have any questions or thoughts you'd love to share, feel free to leave those below or email Hayne Steen at email@example.com.
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