Coming to Therapy – What to Expect From Your First Psychotherapy Session.

Coming to Therapy – What to Expect From Your First Psychotherapy Session.

I wanted to write a short blog article to help potential clients feel reassured about what to expect in their first counselling & psychotherapy appointment for face to face and online therapy. Most new clients tell me that they have thought about coming to therapy for a long time, in many cases years, so I hope that this will help to demystify the concept of coming to therapy for the first time. Personally speaking I want clients to have a positive experience from their first session so that it helps normalise the idea of being in-therapy. If you have been thinking of starting therapy, don’t waste any more time, just go for it.

Many people consider therapy for between six months to two years before they make an appointment with me. The lead up to your first session can feel a bit daunting and nerve racking, the fear of the unknown and not really knowing what to expect but don’t worry too much. How do I start, what do I say, what will they think are common thoughts people can have first time around. Remember, every single therapist had first session nerves just like you! It’s really reassuring to know that your therapist will guide and lead you though your sessions every time, particularly your first session.

I like to break my sessions down into three parts which are an opening, middle and closing section. We know how difficult the first steps can be and meet new clients every day so an important part of our role as a therapist is to make you feel at ease and comfortable during each and every session.

What Should I Expect From My First Therapy Session

Most therapists will follow a similar process in the first session so this article outlines the process that I like to follow myself. The first session is very much an informal relaxed session of getting to know each other and a discussion around how we can both work together therapeutically with your particular presenting issue. What you can definitely expect to get from your first session is a safe supportive space to start talking about what ever it is you are going through. Below is a road-map of how I like to work through the first sessions.

1.Consultation Form. You will be asked to provide basic information such as medical conditions, GP details and contact details of a next of kin in the event of an emergency.

2. Introductions. I will introduce myself and my practice and what to expect from the first session to help put you at ease. Personally I take notes during sessions which I use as as a visual tool in therapy with my clients.

3. Explaining The Therapist Client Confidentiality Agreement. I will explain to you information about the our confidentially agreement and also the limitations of confidentiality and answer any questions you may have.

4.  Sharing. This first session is really a safe space for you to talk about everything that brings you to therapy. I like to call it a session to just offload all your problems and worries. It can take some time to get used to taking about yourself but you will be amazed how quickly you can adjust and have plenty to talk about.

5. Identifying Problems. By the end of the session we will discuss some areas to focus on in therapy over the coming sessions and also discuss how many sessions to start off with. You may be asked to complete an assessment during the first session which will also help us narrow down some areas to focus on.

6. Closing The Session. I will spend five to ten minutes closing the first session and checking in with you to see how you are feeling or any thoughts and questions you might have. Many people are feeling much more relaxed as we come to the end of the first session and most report feeling relieved, happy, motivated that it is over after thinking about it for some time.

It is important to be realistic and not to expect to much from your first session. I think that many people expect to have life changing experiences in therapy and that they will walk out the door feeling fixed or better after just one hour. The reality is that most of the changes happen for the patient between sessions as they learn to practice what has been discussed in therapy and start to focus and reflect more on themselves. I regularly hear clients say ‘I tried therapy before and it did not work‘ and when we explore this more early in therapy, they may have attended just a handful of sessions, sometimes just one and had unrealistic expectations of the outcome. Therapy is where you come to talk about change, the next part is to actively learn how to change outside of sessions.

I can reassure you that your second session will feel easier to attend, as you know where you are going and what to expect. Ongoing sessions will feel like they have a nice natural comfortable flow as we get to know each other more and develop a relationship overtime. Therapy is a process of change, healing and personal insight. It is also learning to be vulnerable and open with another human being and using that connection with your therapist to help you to accept yourself, change and grow. All of which takes time.

 

Orlagh Gahan is a qualified IACP Counsellor & Psychotherapist and Complementary Health Therapist in private practice in Co. Kildare, Ireland. She works with a range of clients and specialists in stress management, recovery, sex therapy, fertility and pregnancy. She provides both face to face private therapy and online therapy via SKYPE which can be booked online. You can find out more at www.orlaghgahan.ie or contact me at info@orlaghgahan.ie 

Promoting Wellness – Positive Coping Techniques for Everyday Stress

Promoting Wellness – Positive Coping Techniques for Everyday Stress

Wellness is defined as feeling comfortable, happy and healthy. A state of being which most of us would like to achieve in our everyday life without having to think to much about it. But everyday life can be hectic and often we don’t get a moment to stop and take stock until the weekend or a break away. Burnout can happen as a result of long-term physical, mental or emotional stress which is not managed well. The healthier you feel in your mind and body the better you are able to cope with all the symptoms of stress and a busy lifestyle. In fact, the more positive you feel, the more motivated you will be to focus on your health and improving your overall quality of life. It is important to be proactive and be able to identify and manage stress in a healthy way that’s best for you.

Here are some simple positive coping techniques for everyday wellness which can also help anyone who is recovering from stress, anxiety and burnout or feeling overwhelmed.

  • Practice 2 minute grounding exercise during times of stress by focusing on your breathing and senses, what you can feel, hear, smell and touch.
  • Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present day and what you can control.
  • Embrace self-care by resting, relaxing, looking after your self, having fun and laughing.
  • Love your body and enjoy taking care of yourself.
  • Exercise regularly to feel good, release endorphins and burn off adrenaline.
  • Stop catastrophic thinking and ruminating about worst case scenarios.
  • Identify your negative though processes and focus on shifting to positive thoughts.
  • Stop being critical of yourself and others and focus on strengths.
  • Get plenty of undisturbed sleep approx. 6 to 8 hours to help the body heal.
  • Avoid negative influences which are unnecessary such as news, dramatic TV shows etc.
  • Practice positive self-talk and affirmations.
  • Find ways to feel inspired and empowered through reading, audio-books, groups, talks, music, workshops, hobbies, events.
  • Short breathing exercises through the day during times of stress can help improve mental clarity, oxygenate the body and relax muscles through the body.
  • Learn to say ‘NO‘ to others or ‘Can I come back to you on that?‘ when you have had time to think and start putting yourself first.
  • Ask for support and help from others and learn to accept help when offered.
  • Talk to your partner, family and friends about the things that bother you.
  • Surround yourself with positive loving people.
  • Let go of trying to control others or wasting energy on what they may be thinking or feeling.
  • Treat yourself from time to time, you are worth it.
  • Use commuting as an opportunity to rest, listening to audio-book, podcasts you enjoy or reading a book.
  • Leave work at work and stick to clear working hours.
  • Turn off work related phones, emails and devices early in the evening so it does not infringe on home life and valuable relationships.
  • Write lists of things that are on your mind or that you need to get done.
  • Let yourself feel what ever you are feeling rather than trying to suppress emotions, uncomfortable feelings will pass.
  • Most importantly find ways to cope which work for you.

 

 

Orlagh Gahan is a qualified accredited Psychotherapist and Complementary Health Therapist in private practice in Kildare, Ireland. She provides a range of therapies for physical, mental and emotional health. You can find out more or book an appointment online at www.orlaghgahan.ie 

Convenient New Practice Location on Monread Avenue, Naas, Kildare & just 20 minutes from M50 Dublin

Convenient New Practice Location on Monread Avenue, Naas, Kildare & just 20 minutes from M50 Dublin

I am delighted to announce that from Monday 25th March 2019 all appointments will now be in a new convenient location 5 minutes from Naas town center and the N7 in Kildare and just 20 minutes from the Red Cow M50 Dublin. My new private practice is located on the First floor, Unit 5, Monread Leisure & Commercial Centre, Monread Avenue, Naas, Co. Kildare, W91 XV8Y.  This is in the same building as Studio 3 Yoga & Therapy Centre, Park Medical Centre & Monread Dental Clinic.

There is plenty of free parking outside the building with a coffee shop, pharmacy and a large park minutes walk away. Access to the building is secure & private.

– 5 Minutes drive or 15 minutes walk from Naas Town Centre

– 5 Minutes drive from the N7 Exit 9

– 20 Minutes drive from the Red Cow M50 Roundabout, Dublin

– 20 Minutes drive from Newbridge, Co. Kildare

– 25 Minutes from the N4 Maynooth, Co. Kildare

You can also view and book appointments for 60, 90 and 120 minutes directly online through my website www.orlaghgahan.ie or by BOOKING ONLINE HERE

Online Counselling via SKYPE will also be coming soon for new clients from April 2019 for clients who are nationwide & worldwide.

FORTIFY – An Online Platform for Overcoming Pornography

FORTIFY – An Online Platform for Overcoming Pornography

The FORTIFY program was developed by an American organisation called Fight The New Drug. Their goal was to create a movement which would help to educate young people about the negative impact that pornography can have on health, relationships, sex and society and to encourage people to make more conscious choices about pornography usage. The movement has gained rapid momentum and so has their science based recovery resources, supports and research available to anyone who wants to overcome pornography problems. They are not a religious organisation and their strong message is that #PornKillsLove 

The FORTIFY program provides an online platform which helps support individuals who wish to recover from pornography addiction. They have thousands of online users in over 155 countries around the world. The FORTIFY program is also available to purchase as a book called ‘The Fighter’s Guide’ and a new App is now available to download on the Apple Store and Google Play. New users can trial the FORTIFY recovery program for free or pay a subscription of approx. $10 a month.

Here are some useful links if you would like to find out more about FORTIFY.

Fight The New Drug website

The FORTIFY Program – Link to their online support platform for overcoming pornography

FORTIFY Book – The Fighter’s Guide to Overcoming Pornography Addiction 

We Need to Talk About Pornography Video on YOUTUBE by Fight the New Drug.org 

 

Orlagh Gahan is a Psychotherapist, Addiction Counsellor & Complementary Health Therapist in private practice in Naas, Co Kildare, Ireland. She provides a range of professional therapies for health, recovery, sexual problems, fertility and pregnancy. To find out more or to book an appointment online visit www.orlaghgahan.ie or email info@orlaghgahan.ie

20 Early Recovery Insights from an Addiction Counsellor

20 Early Recovery Insights from an Addiction Counsellor

Last week I saw a picture online trying to portray how complicated the process of recovery from an addiction can feel in the early days for someone who had no clue about recovery. It looked like a giant blackboard packed full of mathematical equations which equal (=) ‘Recovery’. Now for someone who could never get the hang of basic long division and also as a therapist who sits across from men, women and family who desperately want to understand the recovery process in order to get a feeling for what to expect, I can wholeheartedly empathize with how confusing that analogy depicting the recovery process must feel. Abstinence and recovery is not a straight road.  The various roles of an addiction counsellor are to support, listen, empathize, encourage and educate clients. But often in the early days, the individual is so clouded with emotion, stress, pain, dependence or chaos that they are unable to hear simple messages that anyone, including their therapist are trying to get across.

Early recovery should be about focusing daily on practical abstinence and harm reduction goals, support and positive habit forming behaviours. However, understanding recovery really comes from being in a recovery process and the personal experience gained from recovery and sobriety. Here are some of these insights and strategies which I hope will help to motivate and encourage individuals early in recovery to stick with the process through the good and bad.

  1. Make a clear conscious decision that some things in your life need to change. Make a long list of those specific things and how you might change them.
  2. Remind yourself you will have good days and bad days, it won’t be easy, but, it will be worth it.
  3. If you are blaming everyone else for all your problems, you are still in denial about your problem. Stop blaming others for the things only you can control.
  4. It really is ok not to be ok and to reach out to someone or a professional who can help you understand what might be happening.
  5. The first steps to getting help can feel like the hardest, you are not alone, there are people who will understand and help you, you just have not met them yet.
  6. You don’t always have to go to rehab to recover from dependence or addiction, you can try support groups and addiction counselling first.
  7. Start talking yourself ‘out of acting out’ instead of ‘into acting out’.
  8. Motivation to recover does not come naturally in the early days, sometimes sobriety and feeling better in yourself motivates recovery.
  9. Willpower alone is never enough to change. Willpower is all in your head BUT practice makes perfect.
  10. You will have cravings, physical, mental, emotional and psychological cravings, but they too will pass.
  11. You won’t really understand how addicted you are to a substance or behaviour until you stop feeding your addiction, focus on abstinence and actively try to stop for a period of 7, 10, 30 days etc.
  12. Recovery is a process of change, challenge, learning, abstinence, re-discovery and time.
  13. Expect mood swings, difficulty sleeping, frustration, aggravation, withdrawals, anger, sweat and tears but not forever!
  14. Do not expect your partner and family to understand what you are going through until you can learn to share with them what you are going through.
  15. Time – Focus on your recovery every day in everything that you do until you realize you don’t need to think about recovery and what you do anymore.
  16. Be realistic about your expectations of yourself and others once you achieve sobriety because real change and healing takes time.
  17. Learn and connect with healthy balanced people how to be healthy balanced and connected.
  18. Our addiction tells us everyone else is doing ‘it’, but that’s just the world you see around you, its not reality. When you are in recovery you will realise that in general most people are relatively healthy, functioning, non-users and enjoying life.
  19. You can recover, you are not your addiction, your addiction does not define the beautiful human being that you really are.
  20. Believe that you can change, trust in others to help you, tell yourself you are worth it, share your story and focus on getting mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually better.

Sobriety and meaningful recovery takes willpower, motivation, practice  support, self-love, connection and time. The goal should also be gently focused on finding meaning and connection in life. Ultimately, recovery from illness and addiction is a path of personal development, self-love and healing.

Orlagh Gahan is an accredited Psychotherapist (M.I.A.C.P) and Complementary Health Therapist in private practice in Naas, Co Kildare, Ireland. She provides a range of professional therapies to men and women for health, relaxation, recovery, sexual problems, fertility and pregnancy. You can find out more at www.orlaghgahan.ie or contact info@orlaghgahan.ie 

FERTILITY HEALTH – A Mind and Body Approach to Fertility in 2019.

FERTILITY HEALTH – A Mind and Body Approach to Fertility in 2019.

If you are hoping to get pregnant in 2019 there are many positive health & lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall fertility. Natural fertility therapies help women to feel empowered and motivated to look after their body and mind while also promoting overall fertility. Trying to get pregnant can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster and what better way to feel supported then by a professional therapist who understands what you are going through. Fertility counselling and fertility reflexology promotes health and wellbeing and support’s women where ever they are on their fertility journey.

Specialist Fertility Counselling

Specialist fertility counselling provides gentle emotional support and understanding to women who are planning a baby naturally or through the various types of the IVF fertility treatments and beyond. Counselling can help to motivate women to make lifestyle changes while also dealing with any personal problems they may be experiencing. Sometimes counselling is the first step to getting help for sexual problems and unexplained infertility. Talking to someone in confidence helps reduce emotional and mental stress which has a positive effect on the body and reduces isolation. With a strong emphasis on self-care, fertility counselling provides a safe space to feel supported, encouraged and empowered.

Fertility Reflexology

Fertility Reflexology is a natural complementary health therapy which focuses on the reflexes of the feet to help bring the whole body into balance. This relaxing and soothing treatment is adapted specifically for fertility and focuses on the reflexes associated with reproduction and pregnancy. Fertility reflexology can be beneficial for women who are planning to have a baby naturally and has many physical and emotional benefits. For women who are planning assisted fertility treatments, reflexology helps to promote a stronger sense of calm, brings balance to the body and is a wonderful way to practice self-care during the various stages and cycles of treatment.  An important role of fertility reflexology is to help improve the overall health of the body so that it can better support a pregnancy.

If you are hoping to improve your health and fertility in 2019, then fertility counselling and reflexology for fertility is a wonderful place to start with the support and understanding of a professional therapist. Orlagh Gahan is one of the few therapists in Ireland who provides a mind and body approach with individuals and couples who are seeking professional therapy for health, fertility and pregnancy.

Orlagh Gahan  is a Specialist Fertility Counsellor & Psychotherapist and Fertility Reflexologist based at the Naas Holistic Centre in Naas, Co. Kildare. She is a member of the Irish Fertility Counsellors Association and the National Register of Reflexologist of Ireland. To find out more and book an appointment on-line visit www.orlaghgahan.ie or email info@orlaghgahan.ie 

Simple Everyday Tips to Help You Feel Calmer

Simple Everyday Tips to Help You Feel Calmer

Stress is a natural part of life. These days, it can be difficult to find a quiet moment to help your body and mind switch off and relax. The problem is that if you are feeling wound up, then it takes time to wind down again. Feeling calmer and relaxed can take time and practice if you have a very busy lifestyle. Many people do not realise how tense they are actually feeling until they try to relax. These simple everyday ideas can help you to feel calmer more often so that you can cope better with stress and feel more focused.

1. Switch coffee and tea for relaxing herbal teas such as Chamomile tea and Bed Time tea.
2. Put a few drops of Lavender or Chamomile essential oils into an oil burner which promote relaxation.
3. Enjoy watching your favorite film.
4. Get engrossed in an inspiring or motivating book.
5. Leave the phone at home, go outside and take a walk somewhere quiet in nature.
6. Have a relaxing massage or reflexology treatment.
7. Lie down in a quite space and listen to relaxation music or a meditation for 30 minutes.
8. Take some quiet time to yourself. Go buy a coffee, walk around a museum, park or a book store and give yourself space to think clearly or not think at all.
9. Practice breathing deeply and have a good stretch in the fresh air or relaxing on your bed.
10. Have fun and laugh often – do things that make you feel good about yourself.
11. Take a cleansing refreshing swim or walk by the sea.
12. Keep a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings at the end of the day.

Find out what works for you, everybody is different. Remember, practice makes perfect.

 

Orlagh Gahan is a Complementary Health Therapist and Psychotherapist based in Co. Kildare, Ireland. She provides a range of therapies for physical, mental and emotional health. To find out more visit www.orlaghgahan.ie

 

 

The Irish Fertility Counsellors Association

The Irish Fertility Counsellors Association

Did you know that in Ireland we have a number of Counsellors & Psychotherapists trained specifically in fertility and infertility problems?

Specialist fertility counsellors provide counselling and professional emotional support to men and women who are effected by fertility issues. Talking to a counsellor can help get you through challenging times whether you are going through natural conception or assisted IVF fertility treatment. Counselling can help both men and women where ever they are on their fertility journey. Sometimes couples can experiences stress and tension as a result of ongoing fertility complications. Counselling can help couples to cope better together and plan for the future.

Fertility counsellors can help you through the following problems:

-Infertility
-Sub-fertility
-Secondary infertility
-Sexual problems & fertility
-Assisted fertility & IVF
-Natural fertility
-Grief & loss
-Stress management
-Relationship difficulties
-Preparing for a baby

You can find a list of some of these specialist fertility counsellors at www.fertilitycounsellors.ie or contact me at www.orlaghgahan.ie to book an appointment for Fertility Counselling in Co. Kildare.

Orlagh Gahan is a Psychotherapist & Complemenaty Health Therapist based in Co. Kildare who provides a range of therapies for physical, mental and emotional health. Find our more at www.orlaghgahan.ie.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial