Not sure what to expect from a therapy session? Wondering how Solution-Focused Therapy can help you? Then this blog series explaining the key techniques of Solution-Focused Therapy is for you! Read on to find out what happens in our first therapy session, The Breakthrough Session.
Therapy sessions with me are always preceded by initial conversations about your challenges and goals. This way I can tailor our sessions to focus on your specific requirements, using the key solution-focused techniques explored in these posts.
The very first therapy session, The Breakthrough Session, is designed for me to gather more information. And, of course, for you to ask any more questions that you may have. We will also discuss what we are going to do in our sessions. This way, you have a clear idea of what to expect.
But, most importantly, you will learn how your mind works and where the issues you have described are coming from. You will immediately begin to feel more in control of your thoughts and feelings. That’s why this is called The Breakthrough Session.
I will begin the session by clarifying and summarising what exactly we are dealing with and your goals to move forward from here. You will have the opportunity to tell me a lot more about your issues if you wish. Although to keep it solution-focused, there is no need to go into great detail.
I have, in fact, had a few clients that have not been able to disclose everything to me. But they still made great improvements in their well-being. The reason this works is that I always want you to remember that it is your mind we are dealing with here. Subconsciously, you know you want to feel better. And that is really all we need to focus on – not the assumed causes or reasons for your issues.
Next, I will ask you about any other ‘anxiety markers’ which you may not have identified yourself, things like, do you bite your nails or grind your teeth? Do you experience migraines or have IBS symptoms? All these things can be signs of anxiety or stress and they will be things we will also work towards relieving. Once your issues begin to resolve you will find a lot of these symptoms disappear as well.
We will then discuss your sleep quality in detail. This will give me an idea of how your mind is currently trying to empty your ‘stress bucket.’ Even if you feel that you aren’t sleeping at all – I know that I will be able to help you with that. In fact, it is the first thing I will be able to help you with.
How the brain works
Next, I will explain how the brain works and where the issues you’ve described arise from. I believe that knowledge is power. And once you understand exactly how you’ve got to the point you are now, you will feel back in control once more. Often, clients sigh with relief at this point. It’s such a great help to finally understand that what they are experiencing is normal. And it becomes clear to them that this is a temporary issue that can be resolved.
This is also where a lot of diagrams and slides come in, so you can sit back and relax to absorb all of this. Often my clients take notes for themselves at this stage if they want to. But it is totally up to you. These slides provide the basis for all our sessions going forward. We go over this and add to it at every session. I will expand on it by adding further science-backed examples of how the brain works and tailor-make it for you. This helps me to explain in more detail your current issues and anything else you would like to deal with.
Throughout the session, I encourage questions and discussion. It’s very important to me that you understand the process and trust in it so I am completely transparent to ensure that you are comfortable.
If we have time we will finish this session with some deep relaxation techniques (more about that in Part 3). At this stage, you have had a lot to take, so this is used just to give you an experience of lying back AND RELAXING. It also gives us an opportunity to reset your position. You may wish to just lean back in your chair or move to lie back on your sofa or bed. This is fine as long as I can see you, so it’s always good to experiment with this a little.
If you are happy with everything so far and I have answered all your questions, I will give you a positive goodbye. We will double-check and confirm your next session is booked in and end your Breakthrough Session.
As a follow-up, I will email you the relaxation recording in full. So you can begin your ‘homework’ of falling asleep to it every night.
And that is the Breakthrough session. I really have done most of the work in this session, but from now on you’ll be doing all the talking.