Like, “What the fuck they are writing about me?!,” for example.
We boiled down everything you asked into XX key questions that came up again and again, and then we reached out to three mental health professionals to get some answers. Here's who we talked to:
• Ryan Howes, PhD, clinical psychologist and professor at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
• Loren Soeiro, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist
• Dr. Barbara Nosal, chief clinical officer at Newport Academy, treatment centers for teens struggling with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse
Keep in mind that these are the professional opinions and observations of three practicing therapists, and while their opinions are definitely informed by their experience, they don't speak for all therapists.
Miramax FIlms / Via turkeyglue.tumblr.com
What the fuck they are writing about me?! I've always wanted to know what they're hiding!
Howes: “I should point that not all therapists take notes during session. I never have, and never will, because I don’t want this question to be in the client’s mind and I don’t want that to get in the way of what we’re doing. But if they are writing some notes down, they’re writing down little details of the session that will help them write their case notes after the session.”
Soeiro: “I personally am not hiding very much. I make notes so I can remember what was said in the session, and sometimes I jot down ideas that help me formulate the case. These ideas might sound something like, ‘Feels distant from friends and colleagues but anxiety prevents him from reaching out,’ or ‘Traits of obsessive-compulsive personality vs. OCD?’ In general, I always explain my thinking to the patient.”
Lionsgate / Via giphy.com
What does a typical first session look like?
Soeiro: “All therapists are different from one another, and that goes for first sessions, too. Sometimes the therapist will ask you questions; sometimes you’ll have filled out a form. Sometimes you’ll be able to just start talking about whatever’s on your mind. And sometimes there will be a clear structure and plan to the session. It depends on what type of therapist you’re talking to. Psychodynamic (or psychoanalytic) therapists are more likely to talk in an open fashion, or just to sit back and listen to you; cognitive-behavioral therapists will often closely regulate the session.”
STARZ / Via giphy.com