• Eleni Paris


We are at a point in time where we can choose virtual versus in-person therapy appointments...and that is a gift to so many. I not only appreciate these choices as a marriage and family therapist who, although has a majority of in-person clients, works with those needing that virtual option, but also as a client/patient making doctors appointments for my daughter or other appointments needing that virtual convenience. So what I want to share is that although the virtual route is helpful and still therapeutically beneficial, going to see your therapist and the entire journey of in-person therapy is special and exceptional.


I'd like to highlight the unique aspects of attending therapy in-person and sitting on that couch that is awaiting you. Why is it so significant? What can happen in that room that can ONLY take place right then and there? Well, in order to illustrate this succinctly, I want to back up to your drive....your drive to your therapy appointment.

When you have created an appointment for yourself (or with your significant other or family), you know or hope that this therapy office will become a place for you to grow, heal, change, and reach goals that you have yet to experience. You are conveying that you want to resolve things challenging in your life and find the best solutions uniquely crafted for your life. So when you drive to your appointment, it is a journey of deeply personal hope and desire. It is a time to ponder what you hope to share with your therapist; a time to anticipate that comfortable space to just "be" and perhaps just "feel." Maybe you look forward to what your therapist will share after your last session.


This drive, and ultimately this therapy journey, symbolizes that this is your time, space, and personal investment in growth that cannot be erased. Making the time and effort to attend your therapy appointment is a message to you and others that you are prioritizing self-care and relationship enrichment. Your drive to therapy might be one of the only private spaces to think, pray, and meditate in preparation for your session. If you are with a significant other, it may be one of the only times you two are alone to talk, think, and just be together.

So, you're there...what happens in the therapy room that is special and unique to in-person therapy?

Once you enter the therapy room and sit on that designated couch, you may very well experience "wow, when do we do this? When do we have a quiet, calm environment to talk and process?" More than anything, you can feel rest assured that in addition to these possible feelings, your therapist has purposely created this environment for you and is ready to assist you in ways to meet your personal needs and desires.


Being in front of one another, enjoying conversation in the same room, appreciating facial expressions and gestures, and navigating what needs to happen based on both the verbal and non-verbal communications. Every pause, every kind of exchange, is being processed and utilized by your therapist for your betterment. I often like to tell my clients that even as we're having "casual conversation", enjoying lighter topics, if you will...my therapy wheels are turning and actively at work.

I am constantly making sure that THIS is what you're here for; THIS is important to you; and as I often say, "my hope is that you will leave your therapy session with something you could not have experienced otherwise, whether it is a new solution, more clarity, or an extra source of support." Each step of this dance impacts the next part of your journey, including the necessary steps to get there.


Maybe when you get to the office, you think it's going to be a place where you need to shed many withheld tears, and if that's the case...then come in and shed them. Maybe you're driving and thinking about how you can't wait to share something joyful that took place and your therapist is one of the few people who can truly appreciate this newfound joy...if that's the case..come in and let's celebrate and share in this joy. Maybe that particular day, you know you need to roll your sleeves up and do some really hard work (for example, couples communication practice, where I help coach you with specific techniques). The point is, you get to have any or all of the above during your entire therapy journey. And no one can take away this invaluable investment in your life and relationships.


Your drive and in-person therapy experience may change and involve another person. I've had some people start as individuals and then decide to delve into couples work. I've had clients come in as couples, and realize they want to bring in their child or parent for family therapy. The dynamics may shift, but then you get to experience new parts to your growth and therapy journey.

No matter how you decide to pursue therapy, I applaud you for taking that step. And if you make that call for an in-person therapy session, know that from your call - to your drive - to the therapy room - and the drive back, you have embarked on an enriching, irreplaceable life investment...because the journey and path taken symbolizes new possibilities of growth, change, and healing for you and your loved ones.



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