What should your expectations be for online counseling, online therapy, or online psychotherapy in #NYC?
I hope my recent 3-part guide to finding an online therapist in NYC was useful to you and that you’ve scheduled yourself for ongoing sessions with a great virtual counselor. Now that you’re about to get started with online therapy or are in the early stages of online counseling for anxiety, depression, or relationship issues, you might be wondering what to expect from online therapy in NYC.
1) This takes time!
You should expect to devote at minimum 6-months to this process, and more likely much, much longer. There are modalities of therapy out there that work very quickly to reduce specific symptoms or to resolve very specific problems, but if you’ve decided to proceed with an online therapist who works on a deeper level to help you know and understand the full range of your thoughts and feelings, then peeling back those layers will take time. Frame this for yourself as part of your ongoing self-care practice, just like going to the gym might be. You don’t go to the gym only for 6-months and expect to stay as fit as you were while you were going regularly, right? Online therapy can be thought of similarly, and if you want to invest in yourself for a lifetime, then you should expect to engage in ongoing sessions.
2) Challenge yourself to stick around
It can be hard to open yourself up to an online therapist, especially if you are dealing with anxiety or depression. You should expect to have some feelings, at some point, of wanting to discontinue your sessions altogether. You might even have some negative feelings come up towards your therapist. This is all a completely normal part of the process. See if you can challenge yourself to stick around for a set amount of time that you decide in advance, and also challenge yourself to let your therapist know all of the thoughts and feelings you are having about the therapist and about the therapy. Exploring these feelings is a really important part of the foundation for the work that you will do with your online therapist.
3) Sometimes it gets harder before it gets better, but sometimes it doesn’t
People might tell you that it always gets worse before it gets better, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Some people find that online therapy helps them to crawl out of a hole they’ve been languishing in for far too long, and that relief from the worst of their anxiety or depression happens very early on. Some people find that as they learn more about themselves and the depth of their feelings, that the feelings become more manageable and that they are more curious about what their feelings entail. Some people, though, do find that it gets harder or more painful as they uncover feelings that have been hidden away and operating behind the scenes in ways that are destructive. Try not to expect any one route for yourself as you begin your online therapy in NYC, instead just try to let yourself be curious and let your online therapist manage the process.
Expect to engage in your online therapy sessions with consistency and regularity. Expect that your online therapist will have an appointment reserved just for you at least once every week, and that you each will make the commitment to showing up to that session, even when it feels like there is nothing “new” to talk about. Sometimes the most important work happens in those sessions where people don’t come prepared with a topic to discuss or a crisis to resolve. Expect to be surprised at what comes up when you just let yourself start to explore with an experienced guide in a safe setting.
5) It may be less advice-centered or directive than you might be wishing for – just give me the roadmap, dammit!
You may expect that your online therapist is privy to some amazing information that will change your life for the better as soon as it is shared with you. Oh, how I wish this were the case! I promise I would share it with you if I had it. Instead, adjust your expectations to think of your online therapist as your guide who will help you learn as much as you possibly can about yourself and about how you operate as you navigate your life in NYC.
I hope this helps you start to frame your expectations regarding online therapy in NYC. Each online therapist is different, however, so if you’d like to know more about what to expect specifically from working with me for online therapy, I encourage you to contact me here to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.