Can a Friend or Family Member Sit in My Session With Me?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

If you are not used to doing things alone, or tend to be shy, sitting in a room with a stranger called a therapist might sound intimidating.

Perhaps you would like someone to come along with you for support.

If you are attending a session in person, a family member, partner, or friend can absolutely come with you to the location and stay in the waiting room while you are with your therapist.

But they can’t go into your session with you unless you are attending a couples therapy session or a family therapy session together.

And it’s the same with a Skype therapy session, or phone therapy session. Unless you have booked a session specifically to work with a therapist and a partner or your family, then you attend your session alone, in a private space.

Why is it important to be with your therapist alone and in private?

Therapy is about you and your experiences, and it requires you to be as honest as possible about what you think and feel.

Those who are close to you might care about you very much. But they are invested in the ways you see things and in the choices you make. When you are around them, you might, without realising it, change the things you say to make sure they are happy.

You might even have a version of yourself created just for when you are around certain people, and be so used to playing that role you don’t even realise how different it is to your real self.

In fact many people find that when they are alone with their therapist they say and feel things they didn’t even realise they thought or felt.

Therapy creates space for you to be yourself. A therapist is someone who is concerned and fully listening, but who is not invested in your choices. This allows you to be more authentic than you might have known possible.

How, then, does a couples therapy or family therapy session work? In these types of sessions the therapist will work to help all people participating to communicate more clearly. You get to greater truths between you by sharing your real thoughts and feelings and looking at the dynamics between you. It's a different process than individual therapy.

If you are nervous about going to therapy alone, don’t worry. It’s absolutely normal to feel anxious at your first session. Your therapist will expect this and know how to help you relax. You can also discuss your nerves with your therapist.

If for some reason you can’t relax around your therapist, don't panic. Therapy is at heart a relationship, and like any relationship, we can take time to settle in. So give it a few sessions first.

If after four sessions you still can't relax, take the time to talk to your therapist about it. It might be about something other than you realise. Perhaps, for example, your therapist is reminding you of someone from your past. Talking can mean you process something that is holding you back.

Of course sometimes it just isn't a fit. If the therapist agrees that the two of you are just not a match to work together, he or she can then recommend another therapist or form of therapy they feel is more suitable.

Harley Therapy aims to offer a service you can trust. Only had one session with your therapist, and really don’t feel it’s a match? We offer you one more session with another therapist at our expense.

Harley Therapy's Guarantee

If you don't feel satisfied with your child's first session for any reason, we'll offer you a session with an alternative therapist at our expense.

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