Making The Call
Making the Decision to Enter Therapy in Philadelphia: Making the call, booking and attending your first therapy appointment can be overwhelming. It takes courage, and a strong desire for change and commitment to follow through with your initial call for help to a total stranger for support as you confront the unknown. It’s common for people’s feelings about the benefits of therapy to change between the time of booking and actually attending your first appointment. For many there are a lot of feelings such as hope, excitement, fear, mistrust, shame, and doubt intertwined when deciding to not only call a therapist, but to actually show up and do the work.
So you went through all of the work and time of making the call and identiing the right therapist for you. Then you took the next step to actually speak on the phone with someone and schedule a first appointment. To do so, you answered all of the questions asked by the therapist, you went over the session fee, you agreed on a time to meet, you shared all necessary information. The initial contact can be scary; there is a lot of personal information exchanged and processed within just minutes of making the call. For some, especially those that reach out to a therapist on a whim, may not be entirely ready to actually begin to make changes in their life. Sometimes it’s easier to simply complain as opposed to taking an active role to choose how you react to life happening. Sometimes, people who have difficulty asserting themselves find themselves in a position of having agreed to an appointment that does not really work for them. The fee may be more than you can comfortably spend. The location may not be convenient, you didn’t like the voice quality of the therapist, or you are simply not ready yet to receive outside help. You believe that you can succeed on your own. Each of these are valid reasons to call back and cancel the appointment. Therapy only works if you are ready to be open to the experience and make the sacrifices necessary to make yourself available. Therapy, while extremely effective, is not the only solution.
As the reality of the upcoming therapy appointment sets in, and you have found yourself second guessing the factors of booking a therapy appointment: should yo have really been making the call in the first place, do you really need therapy, or can you handle the location of where the therapist is located, or you agreed to a higher fee than you budgeted for, and now you’re wondering if you can realistically can afford this therapist or even want therapy? These are all very normal thoughts and questions to be asking yourself before you show up. For others, just showing up is too scary, anxiety provoking, shameful, risky, embarrassing etc.
Share these concerns ahead of time with a friend, family member, doctor or spiritual leader and if you aren’t comfortable disclosing to them, then try the therapist you just spoke with on the phone before canceling the appointment. Although, truth be told, if you ask a therapist on the phone if you should come in, they will likely tell you to come in for one session for an assessment. It’s really hard for us to assess if therapy could be helpful to you without actually knowing you.
The real issue that you have to come to terms with is; what is stopping you from following through with your gut? Is it fear, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, or guilt? People rarely decide to reach out for help to a therapist if they don’t have an issue that is bothering them.
From our end, we as therapists encourage you to explore your doubts and concerns BEFORE walking in the door to an appointment. We only want to take on clients who feel good about the decision that they have made. Our job is to help you, not to become part of the problem. A good therapist understands that therapy is not for everyone. A good therapist knows that they are not the only one who can help you. Many therapists, especially in a larger city like Philadelphia have the skill to help you. A good therapist won’t take it personally if you say that his or her price is too high for you, or ask for a referral or opt to cancel simply because it’s not the right time. A good therapist recognizes that all clients have their own strategies for making decisions that are right for them.
With that being said, what we do expect from you is to take responsibility for yourself and if you need to cancel, to tell us. Sitting, waiting for someone to show up that has no intention of showing up isn’t good for anyone.