Just like you wouldn’t run to the GP at the first sign of a cold, calling a therapist to help you deal with your anxiety, stress, and/or depression is not the first thing that you would think of. And when people are thinking about signing up for my 10-week programme, I usually recommend 5 things to do before working with me.
It takes some time and thought to make that first step, to decide that that is the course of action you want to take. Equally, as a therapist, I like to be sure that you are ready to commit to attending sessions and making the change.
So I wanted to share these 5 things to do before working with me!
Peace of mind
But first, why should you do these things? Well, in a nutshell, it’s going to save you time, energy, and mental headspace.
Arranging a call with a therapist can be a difficult step when you’re already struggling. So, it’s important to do your research and find out everything you need without pressure in your own time. That, actually, is the first step to your recovery.
And it’s why you find so much information about me and my work on my website. And why I share my work and thoughts on my podcast and in my private Facebook group.
Knowing what to expect – and what is expected of you – makes any new situation so much easier. And following these five steps will help you get ready and be prepared when you decide to book your free initial consultation with me.
Also, if you have any further questions and can’t find the answer you’re looking for, feel free to email me!
1. Check out my blog and website
I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power so get informed by reading, so the first thing to do before working with me is to read up on my blog.
I love writing and am always thinking of what I can write about next. It’s very important to me to get as much information out there as possible. I am particularly passionate about taking away the ‘mystery’ of therapy.
Often, I’ve tried to answer commonly asked questions by writing a whole blog piece on it. I could talk for hours about the work I do, so instead of that I’ll keep it to a concise blog post instead.
2. Check out my book
Of all the 5 things to do before working with me, this is probably the easiest. My book ‘How to Empty Your Stress Bucket’ is the handbook or companion guide to my 10-week programme. It is a guide to exactly what we would go through in our sessions step-by-step.
In fact, I started my book with a general overview of solution-focused work. But when I realised I needed more information, I just referred to the journey that I take my clients on, from overwhelm to peak performance.
There’s even a journal at the back to get you started.
I’ve also included anonymised client stories – see if there is someone there you could relate to and read about the journey they went on.
And my book is fully accessible–- I’ve even read it out in full on my podcast.
Which brings me to my next point……..
3. Listen to my podcast
I love a podcast… true crime and scandals are my usual go-to’s. But when I want to learn something, I’ll go to podcasts too.
So in my podcast, Stress Bucket Solutions, I’ve talked for over 150 episodes about the solution-focused formula and the science of how the brain works.
There are also some real-life client interviews on there and more information on what solution-focused sessions look like.
And, as I mentioned above, you can hear my book in full – one chapter per episode. So as 5 things to do before working with me go, it has it all.
Obviously, you’ll hear all this in my voice, with my special type of “Gin-Chat”, my cheesy jokes and even hear me rant about things that annoy me. I want you to get to know me as a therapist, not only the work I do.
When someone attends their initial consultation and says they feel like they already know me, because they’ve listened to my podcast, I am so flattered. I love hearing people say that.
4. Chat with friends or family
Please chat with someone before you book a call.
Talking out your concerns and ideas with someone who knows you well will really help.
Let them know about your issues, maybe even ask for a second opinion about the content I share, and ask them if it sounds like it would be a good fit for you.
When you’re feeling anxious it can be difficult to remain objective so having an external opinion from someone who knows you really well is valuable.
5. Compare me with other therapists.
No, I’m not embarrassed to say this.
You need to find the right type of therapy and the right therapist for you so you need to compare what I do, and what I’m like to consider if we’ll be a good fit.
Compare modalities, issues that can be dealt with, any specialisms, and of course the costs and time involved.
But most importantly, do you think you would get on with the therapist?
Having a knowledgeable therapist is one thing. But being able to trust your therapist is another. So this is one of the most important things to do before working with me.
You don’t have to put your finger on it but you know when you get a good feeling from someone and when there’s just no chemistry there at all.
Take the first step
It takes self-awareness to understand that you have to put yourself first and make a commitment to your own mental well-being.
Let me assure you that for me, doing these things I describe above will save you a lot of mental load in the long run.
In fact, my clients who have done at least one of the above things are the ones who make a change in their therapy journey within one or two sessions.
This could be the first step to changing the rest of your life.
After all, just like going to see the GP, you’ll know when the time is right to take action.
But do a bit of homework first.