I am feeling awkward and anxious about seeking therapy? Is that normal?

It is normal and absolutely okay to feel nervous or awkward if you are considering therapy for the first time. The therapeutic arrangement/relationship expects you to open up about things that make you sad, angry, afraid, stressed or even ashamed/embarrassed and to share that with a stranger isn’t easy. Often the information you share in sessions would be something you find hard to admit to yourself, let alone talk about with someone else. However, the irony is that all this works.

I want you to know though, that a good therapist makes it comfortable for you to talk about the uncomfortable stuff. You will be able to feel at ease, feel hopeful or perhaps even a little bit lighter than when you first came in after a first few sessions.

I feel hesitant to talk about my issues with a person I don’t even know?

For some people it’s a relief to be able to talk to someone about their stress and fears, especially with an unknown person who does not have any stake in the outcome of their life. It’s a welcoming change to be able to focus on yourself without worrying about the other person. The comforting part of therapy is the fact that there is someone who is a witness to your struggle and who really gets your felt experience. Feeling hesitant to open up is understandable but sometimes gaining an understanding of the course of therapy can help in reducing the anxiety one might experience initially.

It takes some time to warm up in a therapeutic relationship. You can question, clear your doubts and share your fears/hesitations in the initial sessions if that helps you feel safe, assured and confident as we move forward in therapy.

How do I know if therapy is right for me?

Once you begin therapy you should be able to establish some clear goals in collaboration with your therapist. It could be overcoming feelings of loneliness, working on depression, anxiety or a work related worry. It’s important to know that some goals require more time to accomplish than others. The goals often need to be adjusted from time to time. Therapy is right for you if you're planning to work on any feeling of being stuck, confusion, any specific concern related to any area of your life (refer to the services section to know about the scope of therapy).

You may feel a wide range of emotions during the entire span of therapy. Sometimes resistance might also surface because its hard to discuss painful and traumatic experiences. If/when that happens try to see it as a sign of strength and progress in therapy and not failure or counterproductivity.

How are you any different from a friend or family member?

For some people it’s a relief to be able to talk to someone about their stress and fears, especially with an unknown person who does not have any stake in the outcome of their life. It’s a welcoming change to be able to focus on yourself without worrying about the other person. The comforting part of therapy is the fact that there is someone who is a witness to your struggle and who really gets your felt experience. Feeling hesitant to open up is understandable but sometimes gaining an understanding of the course of therapy can help in reducing the anxiety one might experience initially.

It takes some time to warm up in a therapeutic relationship. You can question, clear your doubts and share your fears/ hesitations in the initial sessions if that helps you feel safe, assured and confident as we move forward in therapy.

If I take therapy I fear I would be seen as incompetent, weak and sensitive?

Fearing scrutiny and being self-critical for sharing, discussing and resolving mental conflicts/emotional dilemma are both parts of social conditioning.

Change is mostly very difficult and that is why we often tend to avoid it. It takes immense courage to acknowledge a problem. When you are deciding to take therapy or if you are taking the first step towards resolve. That is a sign of competence, self-care and strength; and not weakness or incapacity.

How does therapy help? What do I need to do in the sessions?

It’s cathartic to unburden about your concerns with someone. Most of us have at some point experienced that relief after talking our heart out with a friend or a family member about something that is bothering us. The perspective often begins to shift as we talk.

We might be having the knowledge of what is helpful for us in a given situation. Therapy helps us work through the obstacles that prevent us from applying the insight to action. Therapy essentially helps in examining unhelpful learned behaviours and thinking patterns that sustain known problems, It helps you in identifying your strengths and using them to improve functioning in various areas of your life, It also helps in gaining an insight about your problem areas and finding a resolve around them.

To put it simply, therapy is a personalised experience, which is why it helps everyone differently. From processing difficult life events to discovering self, exploring healthy coping tools or untangling your emotions as the need/goal varies the felt experience and alters outcome too.

Is therapy about giving advice?

Unlike the popular belief therapy is not about advice giving or common sense driven readymade solutions.

In fact, by the time people decide to take therapy they’ve probably taken more advice than they can chew on—from colleagues, friends and family. Even though a counsellor is a trained professional,I believe therapy works on the premise that you are the expert of your own life. By working with a therapist the idea is to facilitate a positive change, wherein you set some concrete goals and through collaboration we walk on the path to realising those goals. It could be in the form of self-work goals like anger management, relationship goals like conflict management or work related target like assertiveness building/communication skills and goals alike.

What should I expect from therapy?

Therapy provides for a safe, non-judgemental and unbiased space which helps you to feel connected and understood. Apart from feeling supported you no longer feel alone in your individual mind battle. Once you are able to design a plan of action for your concerns with your therapist you will soon observe a positive change. However, there will be days when you feel excited or drained to go to therapy just like how you do for your physical fitness/health workouts.

Some forms of therapy are intended to create insight. They strive to increase your awareness related to the unconscious motivations and helpless dysfunctional patterns which end up making you feel disappointed with yourself or your relationships. Other forms of therapy are more technical and involve research based techniques to work on negative thinking, managing stress, enhancing relationship and regulating emotions. In a nutshell, therapy guides people towards greater insight, self- empowerment, fulfilment and coping mechanism.

How can I tell if a therapist is a good match for me?

It is quite easy to test the therapist client incompatibility sometimes just a few minutes are enough to assess this. On the other hand, identifying if your client-counselor fit is great is a more nuanced and delicate task. A major factor of therapy success relies on client and counselor being a “ good fit”.

A few considerations that will help you make an informed decision on this front:-

  • Trust your instincts- Do a check-in with yourself to see how you feel after talking to the therapist? Do you feel connected with this therapist? Are you feeling understood enough to give this process a chance? Are the sessions a judgement free zone? Do you feel slight positive change in mood after a few sessions? Are you given enough space to share? Is your overall experience safe, warm and validating? Have you set realistic expectations from therapy? How do you want to be attended in a therapy session to feel comfortable and heard?

  • As the therapy progresses are you noticing some change; may not be a substantial shift but a slight change in thinking, feeling, coping skills, some symptom relief ( if any in case of a observable condition that causes emotional swings and disturbing thoughts).

Personal fit:- This refers to the personal compatibility between you and your therapist. A sense of mutual understanding, respect, turn taking and ability to get along. This also includes constructs like personality, therapeutic expectations, value/beliefs etc. Ask doubts, questions and do a few sessions to check if you are a good fit with your therapist.

As Dr June Wolf, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School puts it: “You don’t have to like a person to do a good job as a therapist, but if you actively dislike somebody, it’s harder to do a good job” (Baker, 2009). This applies for both the client and the counsellor.

How do I schedule my appointments?

You can drop me an email on innercalmhelp@gmail.com or reach out through phone or WhatsApp at 8971346905 to book an appointment.

What if I don’t want to talk about something?

There is no pressure to share anything that seems uncomfortable. Having said that it is also important for you to know that in order for any substantial change or relief to happen transparency in sharing and intrinsic motivation is a pre-requisite.

How long does it take to see the positive outcome from therapy?

There isn’t any set time limit within which you can witness a change. It can take as long as you are satisfied with the progress. Each case is unique and yields different results. Individual efforts and motivation play a primary role. It is suggested to take an average of 10-12 sessions to see some change. The point is not to retain a person in therapy indefinitely, but to work on deep seated patterns, unhelpful habits, unhealthy relationships etc.to bring about a significant change in the client’s life.

How often do I need to schedule a session?

This is something that can be discussed during the first session. Frequency, duration and pace of the sessions depend on the individual’s need and circumstance. Together we can determine what would suit you best and we can always choose to alter it as we go along.

Is this a safe place to discuss about concerns close to me? Will there be any written record of what I say? What happens to that record?

Confidentiality is the most crucial part of therapy. Your privacy is respected and information safeguarded the moment we start therapy. If you wish for any of your information or record to be shared with a third party please let me know. Any information can only be released after your written consent. The records of sessions are destroyed 6 months after the termination of therapy.

The exception to confidentiality applies in some situations. For instance, in case of a crisis like domestic violence, abuse or self-harm-- counselors are legally as well as ethically obligated to take measures that deem fit in order to protect a client or others from harm. If such a situation arises... Inner calm will be obligated to breach confidentiality. We urge you to then reach out to necessary agencies you can provide relevant and appropriate support in a timely fashion.

Name of crisis management helplines with contact details.

  • Harm to self or others.? If a therapist believes that you are in imminent danger of hurting yourself or someone else, a family member, police or ambulance will be called to ensure safety.

  • A child under the age of 16 or older adult in care is in danger? In these cases Family and Children’s Services or the police will be called.

  • A client experienced a health emergency during a session? In this case, medical staff would be provided only with necessary.

Do you offer online therapy?

I provide therapy over email, chat, phone and video which you can access from the comfort of their homes. Having experience working with clients in Australia and MNCs abroad I am accustomed and open to attending a multicultural client base. If you are someone based out of India and wish to utilize therapy services with InnerCalm. Be assured we can work on coordinating the timing / therapy schedule. You can reach out to me if you have any inhibitions or doubts with regards to process and effective delivery of counselling sessions.

Which languages can you provide therapy in?

I provide counselling sessions in Hindi and English.

Is couple therapy effective? Can you see me and my partner separately?

Couple therapy is effective when both the partners are motivated to work towards a change. Couple Sessions are generally 60 to 80 minutes long. The need for couple therapy arises when you are experiencing lack of intimacy, emotional disconnect, miscommunication and conflict in your relationship with your partner.

Often we plan individual sessions in couple therapy (along with couple sessions) in order to explore the areas that require self- work from both the partners. This also allows the therapist to be impartial to both the partners. Due to this reason, it becomes imperative to work with both you and your partner if the focus is on couple relationship.

What if I want to get therapeutic help for someone else?

If you are concerned about someone and wish to arrange an appointment for a person who does not wish to come for therapy, I can get your situation but there are only limited options available in this scenario. Therapy only works with an intent and motivation. You will not be able to make an appointment for them but you can take a consultation appointment to discuss how to approach the relationship with that person. You can use this call to explore how can therapy help you in your relationship with the person who is reluctant or neutral to seek therapy. Alternatively, if you feel it might help you, then you can opt for a conjoint session wherein you can support the person by entering therapy together until they settle down in the process and feel comfortable to be on their own.

How do I pay for the sessions?

Payments can be made through Google Pay, PayTM and Netbanking.

In case of a crisis or emergency what can I do?

If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger - do not use this site. You can make use of these resources which can provide you with immediate help:

Sneha India is available 24/7: 91 44 24640050

http://www.aasra.info/ - 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669

Family therapy -- doubts, process and efficacy?

Family therapy is a fairly unpopular and underutilized therapy model in India. It involves multiple therapy sessions usually lasting for 1-1.5 hours each conducted on regular (weekly or once in 15days) interval for a few months. Family therapy is usually initiated to address a specific problem such as death in the family, adjustment, conflict maintenance, child related concerns and issues like that are recurrent and disturbing yet inevitable for the cohesive functioning of the family.

This therapy model allows to work on improving troubled relationships with partner, siblings/ other family members, addressing financial disagreements, value conflicts, emotional misunderstandings, mental health and substance abuse related concerns that impact a family at large.

FT can be useful to you if you feel that there is a family situation that is causing stress, anger, fights, grief and repeated disturbance in familial relationships. It can enable you and your family members to understand one another better by learning coping and communication skills as a family in therapy. Single parent families, blended families, same sex couples and joint as well as nuclear families can benefit from family therapy as it allows to create a better functioning home environment between parents, children and other family members.

Would you be comfortable doing webinars or workshops for corporates? Please provide a brief about the possible areas which you can cover.

Yes, a major part of my work experience includes working with corporates across multiple verticals. I would be happy to cater to the customise needs of your company. Please write in to me at innercalmhelp@gmail.com for corporate collaborations.

What is counselling supervision ? How does it benefit a practising counsellor?

Supervision is a formal arrangement for therapists to discuss their work on a regular basis with someone who is experienced in both therapy and supervision.

It is aimed at providing guidance, insight and support through their clinical caseload. The supervisor is not present in therapy when the counsellor takes sessions but the inputs are offered by proxy. Its role is to create a space for the counsellor to have an open conversation, clarify doubts, and find resolve pertaining to their personal / professional dilemmas.

It allows to refine the therapist client relationship by receiving constructive feedback. The counsellor feels reassured, supported and understood in managing cases /situations that are challenging, new or unknown to him/her. Supervision , basically, helps in maintaining adequate standards of ethical therapeutic practice.

How does cancellation, rescheduling and refund work?

If you are unable to attend a session, please make sure you cancel or reschedule at least 6 hours beforehand. If you cancel less than 6 hours prior to the scheduled session or do not turn up for your appointment, you will be charged for the full rate of the session.