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What to expect from a therapy session

Complementary or alternative therapies and natural health care approaches can be extremely beneficial in helping to prevent disease, and in treating a wide range of conditions. But some people are put off simply by not knowing what to expect from a complementary health therapy session.

Not all therapists are alike. They each have their own therapeutic approaches as well as differences in styles and techniques.

How does complementary therapy differ?

With the various types of therapies available to treat different ailments, it is important to remember that complementary or alternative therapies are, by nature, “holistic”. 

This means that you are treated as an individual person by the therapist and not overshadowed by your disease. This approach differs from conventional medicine, as orthodox doctors treat patients according to their symptoms. They also have a philosophy that divides the patient up into “sections”, rather than seeing the person as a “whole”. Complementary or alternative therapists, on the other hand, take into consideration all the person’s symptoms — physically, emotionally and mentally — and treat the underlying cause of disease, thus stimulating the body’s natural healing capabilities

What makes a good therapist?

Therapists have no wish to control their clients — quite the opposite. They will work towards putting you in control. The therapist should take responsibility for creating a warm and safe environment for therapy. It is important that the therapist challenges you when necessary, while at the same time creating a general environment of acceptance. A good therapist will figure out what works best with each person and then moves forward from there.

How can you get the best from your session?

Before you start the therapy, discuss what it is you expect from it. Never be afraid to ask questions at the start, or to say how you feel. It is important that the client and the therapist are both very clear about what they are trying to achieve.

Therapy is not always an easy process and your therapist is not there to be your friend. You can certainly choose a therapist whom you feel respects your opinions and individuality. And therapy is a two way process; you must be able to trust your therapist 100 per cent, and you need to be totally honest with them. If you cannot be open with them, and feel like you have to lie to your therapist or withhold important information, you will not benefit from their therapy.

How will you know if the therapy is working?

You need to feel, in some respects and at some point in therapy, that actually going to your therapist is helping you. If you do not feel relief from your problems, you may not be getting the best treatment available. This could signal that a change of therapist or type of therapy may be necessary.

Be prepared to keep an open mind, because the way you feel during the therapy sessions may not be what you expected. Remember, this may be the first time you have experienced this, but the therapist does it every day. If during a session, the therapist does or says anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, you should always say something, there and then.

I hope this helps you to feel more confident about what to expect from a therapy session. For more on this subject, go to How to choose a therapist.             

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