How you might feel after your first online CBT session
Whether you’ve been dealing with the symptoms of mental health problems for a long time or they have developed recently, starting therapy of any kind can be a highly emotional time. It is completely normal to feel a whole range of emotions during this time and throughout your online CBT sessions.
When you first start the process of signing up for therapy, you might find you feel a real sense of hope, that finally you are about to start tackling the problems you’ve been dealing with. Some people feel a sense of relief that they have taken that first step. However, it is also not unusual to feel even more anxious or even over whelmed by the thought of what might be in store. During your first online CBT appointment, your therapist will explain in more detail some of the things you will be doing during your sessions, depending on your situation and goals. Sometimes this can cause some anxiety and feel a bit daunting.
What to do if you do feel anxious after your first online CBT session?
It’s important to know that it is completely normal, and many people also feel this way when they first get started. Particularly if anxiety is something you were already dealing with, talking about what makes you anxious or thinking about tackling it can bring on these feelings.
Take a moment to recognise how well you have done for taking that first step. It isn’t easy, but you’ve taken a step towards feeling much better and you should feel proud of yourself.
Secondly, it’s important to understand how anxiety works and how avoidance plays a part in increasing it over time. When something makes us feel anxious or uncomfortable, our natural reaction is to avoid whatever is making us feel this way. In the short term this is pretty effective, as we don’t have to deal with that horrible feeling. However, if we repeatedly avoid something, we are essentially telling our brain that it was right, that thing was something bad! So, our brain becomes increasingly concerned about whatever it was we were avoiding, making you feel even more anxious about it than before. This is how it then begins to affect other areas of your life as your brain becomes on high alert for something it believes to be highly dangerous. The only way to effectively stop the anxiety is to break this cycle.
Breaking the cycle
Now breaking this cycle can feel uncomfortable at first. But remember, this is exactly what you have come to therapy for. During your online CBT sessions, you are going to learn lots of new skills and coping mechanisms to help you manage these feelings and get back to living life the way you want to. So, after this initial uncomfortable stage, if you can trust in the process, you will come out the other side feeling so much better and well equipped to handle so much more than before.
Final things to remember
Everything you do throughout your sessions is taken entirely at your own pace. Your therapist will not make you do anything that you aren’t able to handle or that you don’t want to do. At every step they will be checking to make sure you are okay with everything and that they are going at a pace that works for you.
If you are worried about something you might have to do, remember that you are in control of your sessions and can tell your therapist at any point if you are struggling or feeling uncomfortable. Your therapist will be highly experienced in helping lots of different people through a range of problems and will understand how you are feeling.
If at any point you feel uncomfortable or over whelmed, or even feel like you might not want to turn up to your next session, please just say something to your therapist as they will be able to find other ways to go about it and slow the pace down. We can help you with that. We are here to help you.