Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the first step in taking control of your life and bettering your mental wellness. For some, the decision to seek professional help in the form of a psychologist is an easy one but for others, it’s a decision that takes time and that may cause nervousness and apprehension. Firstly, understand that it’s completely normal to feel that way – especially if we’ve never seen a psychologist before. It’s a big step to take and the thought of being vulnerable and sharing our deepest emotions and struggles with someone can be daunting. But we have to remember that it’s a positive step. Don’t be put off by nerves. 3 reasons to see a psychologist While we can look to a family member, friend, or partner for support in our mental health journey, there are some distinct benefits that only come from seeing a psychologist. 1. Experience While friends and family want the best for us, their knowledge only extends so far, and their advice is usually somewhat limited to opinion. Psychologists are experts in their fields and have a thorough understanding of evidence-based therapies that they can help us put into practice to better achieve our goals. This also means that they are trained to deal with a wide range of mental health issues – from depression and anxiety to addiction, grief and loss, and eating disorders. 2. They’re impartial The personal and close relationship that our friends and family have with us means it’s hard for them to be objective about a situation. Even if they have the best of intentions, they’re emotionally invested too! A psychologist can provide a third-party perspective and may help us consider points of views that we were previously blind to. 3. It’s their job This means that we don’t have to feel as if we’re burdening them in any way by confiding in them. While they have a great deal of care for their clients, speaking to a psychologist is a very different experience from speaking to someone who is close to us. Their sole purpose is to support and educate us with the knowledge to create change to our mental health and wellness, and hold our hand through the process. What happens at my first appointment? Whether you’re visiting Mind Matters or another clinic, generally the purpose of the first appointment is for our psychologist to better understand what we’re struggling with. Think of it as a “get to know you” session, where clinicians will gently prompt us with questions. The end goal of this session is to set up some objectives and intentions and put a plan in place to achieve mental stability and wellness. Often, we leave feeling empowered, with a shared understanding of the changes we’d like to make. While it’s essential to have a really thorough session to start off, it can be a lot! It’s important that we don’t rush back into our daily tasks directly after a session. This gives us the appropriate time we need to absorb and process. Go for a walk, have a cup of tea, or simply have some alone time. It’s also likely that our family and/or loved ones will want to know how we went, but try to remember that it’s OK to let them know that we need some time to process. The safe space your psychologist creates in the therapy room is allowed to continue once we leave. Thinking of seeing a psychologist but aren’t sure if it’s the right step for you? Chat to your GP or reach out to our friendly team at Mind Matters.