It is important that autistic people preparing for their first therapy session know what to expect. When searching for a therapist they will likely give you an idea, but it’s important to be fully prepared for therapy. There are a number of things that can happen during a therapy session but it can be broadly split into four categories: Current challenges, potential future challenges, skill building and aftercare.
Typically, a therapy session will start by discussing your past week or the time that has gone since your last session. If you had any challenges during this time you might discuss these a little bit more in-depth, discussing how you felt and what you could have done to make this experience easier for you.
If you have experienced trauma, your therapist is a good person to talk to about this. It is possible that discussing current challenges may lead into discussing past trauma. In fact, discussing current challenges may even help to pinpoint events you didn’t even realize were traumatic. This can be frightening and you may feel like you are reliving the trauma by going back over it with your therapist. But it’s important to stress your therapist will be able to help you develop skills to make these challenges easier and allow you to feel some relief from the experience.
In talk therapy, your therapist will work on some skill-building activities with you looking at things like mindfulness, emotion regulation, anxiety building and resilience building. Sometimes, before you leave your therapy session you might finish the session with something more relaxing for you whether it be watching a video on YouTube or even something as simple as discussing your special interests. Finishing the therapy session with something you enjoy means that hopefully you will leave the session feeling positive and secure.
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