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10 things to know about therapy




  1. Calling before booking that first appointment: I will always try and have a brief conversation with you before booking you in, mainly because it’s important for me to get an idea of what brings you to therapy and if I am the right professional for you, eg you may be looking for a therapist for your 10 year old son in which case I can’t help as I am not trained to work with children. Or you might wonder if I offer video sessions – which I do.

  2. “Shop around”: you don’t always have to go with the first therapist you’ve spoken to or seen. Have a list of therapists and slowly make your way through your list and give them each a call. Don’t strike anyone off until you’ve spoken to them. This process might take some time but it’s time well spent.

  3. Have a few questions ready to ask your therapist for that first call: While it’s important for me to ask a few questions to get a better understanding of what brings you to therapy, it can be equally as helpful for clients to ask me questions too. Remember that initial chat isn’t just about me seeing if I am the right person for you, it goes both ways. I remember caller asking if they could bring their new born with them to which I replied; “If it’s ok with you, it’s ok with me”, and another asked if I would work with her and her mother as a couple; “ Yes, I work with couples however that coupling may be made up.”

  4. Chemistry/ Fit and some self-awareness: This is actually the most important part of therapy especially as therapy is about the relationship. Listen to your instincts and go with the person that feels like the best fit for you.

  5. Have an idea of what you need from therapy: This could be anything from wanting to know more about yourself, wanting support in a moment of crisis, finding your purpose, how to manage your anxiety….but don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you want – we can also work it out together

  6. Commitment/ Challenge / Conflict: I always prepare clients for the reality that therapy can be really tough and there will be moments where it might be difficult to hear what I am saying. But I encourage clients to bring this back to our work as it’s helpful for us to know the difference between not liking what someone has to say and not liking them. Remember therapy can be a safe place for us to practice real life in.

  7. Check-ins and check out’s: Something I do regularly to make sure we are on the same page.

  8. Journaling – this will help you to get the most out of your therapy while also working as a marker to look back on when therapy has ended.

  9. Self-care and kindness – try not to book anything immediately after sessions. Give yourself some space to sit with and reflect on your sessions. We can also work out together what self-care might be for you.

  10. How long is the work? (This is always a tricky one. For some, finances dictate how long we can commit to, while for others it might be something else.) The assessment process can take a few meetings, shortly after I will talk to you about the how long I think you might need to actually benefit from the work, or you might already have an idea. Clients can often find it helpful to hear that therapy isn’t a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, but something that can be dipped in and out of during ones life.


And finally remember you’re not alone in this – and it’s absolutely expected to feel nervous about beginning therapy. Maybe you might find some comfort in reading some testimonials from a few of my previous clients.

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© Waheena Wingham

Waheena Wingham, Psychotherapist & Counsellor in Chelmsford and Central London

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