top of page

A client’s experience of therapy

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

I’ve done several posts on my Instagram about things for clients to consider when starting therapy and during their therapy to try to help the process and demystify some of it for those new to therapy. I considered writing a longer blog however thought it might be better coming from someone who has been through the process with me as their therapist.

Here, unfiltered and unedited by me is a clients reflections at different stages of their therapy. We hope you find it useful…

Choosing a new therapist

Choosing a new therapist

For therapy to be effective and healing, it requires us, patients/ clients, to be vulnerable and open about why we are sitting on the therapist’s sofa seeking help.

But before I sat on the sofa, I needed to find out the “lucky therapist” who would hear me complain and whine for 50 minutes once a week about everything that made me angry? And how would I know if they are the right person to talk to?

This wasn’t my first time in therapy and of course, I wanted a therapist that would be competent and qualified, etc. But this time, I also wanted to sit in front of a real human being and not a robot who would show no emotions or feelings. I mean, how can I trust you if I don’t know you? And although I knew therapists don’t reveal details about their personal life, I wanted to feel that the person I was revealing my deepest darkest fears and secrets was not only a qualified and brilliant but a human being, like me, with hopes, dreams, pains, struggles, fears, not someone who pretended to have no feelings or who pretended to be almighty know it all and perfect. That was and is still very important to me. So, I decided to see Dr. Nick because he had experience with clients that had anger issues.

My advice to anyone finding the right therapist is to be open and not hide from them. If I am not vulnerable with the person I pay to be vulnerable with, how could they help me with my problem? Of course, the problem I presented to my therapist was not the real problem. There was something bigger underneath the anger, there was a lot of grief from my mother's death six years before that I didn't want to talk about or feel.)

In the beginning, it felt bizarre to be sitting in front of a perfect stranger that I pay to tell him my shameful and painful events. And although I committed myself to do three sessions before making rush decisions about this therapist, deep down inside, I went in with a you-better-make-me-feel-better-now


On my second session with Nick, I told him I was upset at how angry I still felt. “None of this is working,” I said. He told me that clients think they come to therapy to feel better and in reality, therapy is about getting better at feeling.

I rolled my eyes so far I saw my brain. Better at feeling? No, no, no! I want to get rid of these feelings! I came here to stop feeling these feelings, and now I have to feel the feelings? I definitely don’t want to be feeling any feelings. Is this guy for real? I wanted to punch him.

(*people will judge that I am still angry but as I know that anger is not the problem… the problem is …)

But…He. Was. Right. I had to go through the pain of losing my mother and the sadness of living without her because I couldn’t bypass grief. I had to feel that void in my chest when thinking about how she is no longer here with me. I had to cry myself to sleep and cry in front of Nick over and over and over again, apologizing every time because I felt I “shouldn’t” be feeling this way. I would repeat:“She has been dead for six years! When is this shit going to be over!”

Every time he would remind me grief has no expiration date and I would learn to live with it. And that soon, I would have more good days than bad ones, but still, every once in a while, a wave of grief will knock me down, and I will learn to stand up a little bit quicker each time. He was right; I needed to feel it all.

Feeling the sadness made space to feel and remember other things about the life my mother and I shared. I started remembering the recipes she made, the karaoke songs we sang together, and the smell of her hair.

I’m grateful that after hearing the “nonsense” advice of getting better at feeling, I didn’t say, screw this, and left never to go back to see him.

The truth will indeed set you free, but first, it will piss you off.

Starting Therapy

Starting Therapy

People usually think that there’s gotta be something wrong with them to start going to therapy. That therapy is about fixing the broken parts of themselves. And I, for sure, have felt broken and alone while dealing with my mental health issues like depressive episodes and generalized anxiety. On the first session with my therapist, I started my then usual rant about how I am failing at everything in my life, especially motherhood… and my therapist told me to repeat to myself, “I am OK.” It sounded simple, but at first, I rejected that affirmation. I mean, back then, I thought, “I am in therapy and there’s gotta be something wrong with me.”

What I have truly embraced during therapy is my humanness, acceptance of who I am (good traits and flaws). It sounds weird, but I accept who I am right with compassion and love for myself while moving towards who I want to be without making myself wrong or being hard on myself in the process.

A couple of months ago, I commented to my therapist I’m not too fond of affirmations that are completely unrealistic because they feel phony to me (like the ones you see all over Instagram.) But, that the one affirmation  he gave me on our first session it’s one I still use when I feel like I am being too hard on myself. 

He answered that It’s not an affirmation, but that the truth is that I am OK. And that even though I am in therapy, there’s nothing wrong with me.

Starting EMDR

Starting EMDR

I started having flashbacks and nightmares about a sexual violence episode I experienced when I was 17. It was affecting my sex life, and the nightmares were constant reminders of a moment I never wanted to relive, think or talk about, ever. 

I talked with my therapist about all that was happening and he suggested we try EMDR to help me with this traumatic event. I had heard about this (intervention or treatment ??) and was apprehensive at the beginning because I knew it required holding in mind the memory.

The nightmares continued. And as the pandemic made its way around the world and the lockdown confined us between four walls, I started having sessions with Dr. Nick online. Believe me, when I say I didn't want to do EMDR online and I would wait for in-person sessions to start.

The flashbacks continued. I imagine that if a flashback were a messenger, it would say something like that the memory of that event you haven't processed yet. I know you don't want to think about me. And you are scared. But you need to think about me so that I can be stored in the right place because right now, I am stuck somewhere that it’s causing you pain and suffering."  And after that traumatic event, my first reaction was to avoid thinking about it and I shot that messenger.

I felt so affected by the flashbacks that I became hyper-vigilant of what could trigger one. I couldn't ignore this anymore, and I decided to give EMDR a go—- even though I wished I didn't have to do it as it meant I would have to work through it and I wanted it to continue ignoring it so that it would magically

go away. By now, it was mid-April, and my plan to start EMDR when we go back to in-person sessions seemed like it would never happen.

I wrote an email to Dr. Nick asking questions about what would happen during a session. He answered them thoroughly and reminded me I didn't have to do this if I didn't want to. It was my decision, and EMDR was his recommendation for treatment, not something I needed to do blindly. 

That first session was rough. I could feel my body rejecting that memory, or maybe it was remembering how I felt then (or maybe it was both?). Thoughts, feelings, questions —- one was leading to the next. At the end of each session, I spent time grounding and reminding myself that this was just a memory. It wasn't happening now.

But after each session, the memory became less and less charged. 

The nightmares stopped. I was able to sleep soundly for the first time in months. I haven't had any flashbacks about that memory ever again. 

The only way out is indeed through. Avoiding made things so much worse and somehow, by facing what happened, I came out stronger and happier. I transformed my shame and disgust into something that empowered me because I survived something difficult.


bottom of page