Can I expect to feel better right away if I come in for therapy?
Some people begin to feel better as soon as they make the appointment to meet with a psychologist or at the time of their first session. There is a sense of relief when you make the commitment to address an issue that has been problematic. More often, however, people do not feel better immediately. Therapy is sometimes emotionally painful, because it involves active effort to look at yourself and your situations in a very deep way, and to make some difficult changes.
As you can imagine, if the problems that bring you to therapy were easy to solve, you would have solved them without the guidance of a psychologist. Most people can expect uncomfortable feelings in therapy and between sessions: sadness, anger, anxiety, to name a few. In addition, as you make personal changes, you can expect an impact on some of your relationships.
Through the short-term distress of addressing problems and making changes, keep in mind the potential long-term gains to help you through the hardest parts of therapy. When therapy is successful, the positive gains in self-esteem, relationships and coping skills can far outweigh the distress of making changes.