Discomfort Getting Started in Therapy

Fear of the Unknown

Perhaps you are humble enough to admit you have a problem with which you need some help. Perhaps you feel comfortable enough with the therapist to consider beginning. It will still be hard getting started because of the fear of the unknown.

Sure, maybe your husband annoys you with his wisecracks, but what if you went to therapy and found out he really doesn’t love you at all? That would be horrible. Better to live with the wisecracks than risk losing him altogether, right? Maybe your son isn’t doing as well as he could in school. What if you went to a psychologist and he blurted out that he was smoking marijuana. That would be mortifying. Better not to know, right? Perhaps your wife isn’t as thin as she used to be. What if you went to therapy with her to try to motivate her to lose weight and instead found out she’s been having an affair with your best friend for 3 years. Best just live with her “as is,” right?

Some of the things that could come out in therapy might be terrifying. However, if you simply don’t go to therapy, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, only that you don’t know about them. Whatever it is is not going to get better by itself. It will get worse and worse until you can no longer refuse to acknowledge it and then you’re in a real mess. Something MUST change.

Change is scary. You trade the KNOWN for the UNKNOWN.

Therapy involves some sort of change. You may change your behavior, routine, clothes, tempo, procedures, philosophy, habits, hair color, church, diet, tone of voice, speed, job, home, shoes, school, bowling league, your attitude, or a number of other things.

So, if you are afraid to begin therapy, you’re already on the right track because you are anticipating some kind of change. If you are not at least a little bit afraid, you’re probably not really seriously considering it. Think about it some more before you make an appointment.

I’m a bit afraid, but I’m ready to give it a shot

Lack of Motivation

Let’s say that you know darn well you have a problem and that you really do want help, but you still can’t seem to get started. This lack of motivation is a very common sign of having waited just a little bit too long. The problem started out small and you got used to it. The problem persisted and you adapted. It got even worse than you ever thought it could, but things still seemed okay sometimes. Now the problem is completely out of control and you don’t know what to do. You don’t know where to begin. You feel hopeless and helpless and can’t seem to get yourself to do much of anything. This is very common!

Humans have a great capacity to adapt to new situations. When a new problem arises, most of us are flexible enough to cope with it and go on. What happens, though, is that when a problem goes untreated, it continues to get worse. Humans can continue to cope and adapt as it gets worse and still feel like life is pretty good and satisfying. However, there comes a point at which you can no longer cope or adapt and you don’t know where that’s going to be. It sneaks up on you out of nowhere and suddenly you are in despair and you have no idea how you got there. Again, this is normal and common. If this describes you, you are merely human.

What you must do is find some way to take the first step. You may even have to ask someone else to help you take that step. Talk to someone about what’s going on. Have them call to make an appointment for you, if you wish. The most important thing is that you do SOMETHING. Don’t stay stuck in that rut because it leads to certain destruction of yourself and your family.

Okay, I can at least make the call

I’m not quite ready yet, Tell me what to expect During Therapy

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