There are five stages of “readiness” for therapy. The first three of these stages occur before you start therapy.
In this first stage, you haven’t considered the possibility that your life could be different. A friend or loved one may have suggested therapy but you’re just not sure at this stage. You may know something is wrong or you may be in denial. Either way, you haven’t considered the possibility that your life could be different yet.
Often at this stage, a concerned family member or partner calls to find out what treatment options are available with the intention of convincing you of the need for therapy. You may or may not be open to their intervention. While no one but you can make the decision to start therapy, we offer a consultation service for concerned family members. Call or email us to learn more.
You become aware a problem exists and may want, or even intend to change, but you’re not quite ready to make a commitment to take action. You may want to read some of our blogs to give you an idea what we think is important. You may do some research into your possible diagnoses, and treatment approaches to help you decide whether to proceed.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to decide to get therapy. And courage is always cause for celebration. That said, it’s common in this stage to think about getting therapy for awhile and then take a step back. You tend to think about it when things are getting worse and step back when things start to improve. So be patient with yourself.
At some point, however, you may decide that your present life is not sustainable. That’s when you begin preparing.
You find out more about the St Louis DBT team. You begin researching therapists who might be a good fit for you. You look at your finances and figure out what you can afford. You call or email us to learn more. You may do a free telephone consultation. Before you make a decision, we urge you to ask yourself these six questions.
- Your current life: Is your current life intolerable or unacceptable to you?
- Try something different: Are you ready to try something different to change your situation?
- Take responsibility: Are you ready to take responsibility for your own actions?
- Committed to change: Are you committed to change?
- Desire for a life worth living: Do you want to feel better and live more fully?
- Motivation: Are you willing to make getting better a priority in your life?
If the answer to these questions is an emphatic “yes,” you’re definitely ready for therapy. If your answers are mixed — you may be ready for therapy but the initial sessions will focus on moving from ambiguity to “yes” on all the questions.
This is where the work of therapy happens. If you’ve never had therapy before, getting started can be a bit scary. Even if you’ve been in therapy in the past, meeting your new therapist can cause some anxiety. It helps to know what to expect.
After the first session, this stage involves:
- Weekly therapy sessions:. Weekly attendance is required. What happens in therapy will depend, in part, on whether you are an adult, teen, couple or family.
- Practice between sessions:. Your therapist will give you skills to practice between sessions as part of the treatment process. If you do not practice the skills between sessions, you will not achieve the results you desire.
- Skills Group: You and your therapist will decide whether you need to participate in a weekly skills group. Depending on the challenges you face, skills group may be mandatory as an adjunct to therapy or optional,
You will work with your therapist for 6 months to a year — more-or-less — depending on the challenges you face, how hard you work and how much you practice.
When you are ready, therapy will end. You can continue to participate in an Advanced Skills Group for “graduates” of our DBT program to keep your skills fresh and for continued support from your peers. During this period, you will work to maintain your gains and prevent relapse. Of course, you may come back for tune-ups or to join the DBT program again as needed subject to therapist availability.