Other Information About Psychotherapy/Counseling
Psychotherapy cannot be successful unless you want to be there.
First and foremost, it’s essential that you not feel trapped into making an appointment. If you feel coerced into going to therapy, express your discomfort to the therapist. Therapists are nurturers and helpers but not mind readers, so don’t hold in your reluctance.
Psychotherapy will not fix you.
YOU will fix you. The job of a psychotherapist is to help you help yourself. Advice-giving creates dependency, whereas helping you discover your patterns that keep you stuck or undermine your well-being creates self-awareness. The goal of psychotherapy is to empower you with ways to deal with life issues, learn the triggers for your depression, and build resiliency, so you can find well-being.
Psychotherapy does not always make you feel better.
Making a breakthrough in therapy is exciting and meaningful. However, achieving awareness sometimes requires you to be brave and fearless. Recalling memories and experiences, or changing a behavioral style, can be trying, upsetting—even overwhelming.
Psychotherapy will not work if you have unrealistic expectations.
Setting realistic goals can make psychotherapy a winning experience. Change does not happen overnight. Nor does the development of insight. Hardest of all is replacing old behaviors with new ones. It takes time.
Psychotherapy is not like talking to a friend.
Therapy is the forming of an alliance to bring about change in your life. This is done with a therapist who is caring, empathic, and skilled in the symptoms and/or illness you experience. Psychotherapists train many years in the art of listening and, unlike a friend or family member, listen not only with the intent to just understand but also with the goal to identify and analyze.
Being an active listener enables a therapist to use theory and techniques to stir your observations as treatment proceeds. I often hear people say, “Therapy is a big rip off,” or, “You’re paying for someone to listen to you.” Well, it is true that you’re paying for someone to listen, but a psychotherapist’s skills go beyond that of ordinary listening. Combined with your therapist’s clinical objectivity, enables you to get a balanced, unbiased frame of reference in treatment. Something friendship often blurs.
Psychotherapy requires you to be comfortable with your therapist.
There’s a lot of chemistry in talk therapy. Without this connection, it may be difficult to feel comfortable talking about difficult issues and to feel safe letting go of fears or trying out new behaviors.
The importance of your therapist’s training should be equally matched with the level of comfort you feel in sessions.
Once you’ve done your research on finding a therapist, let your phone call be the first test for this chemistry connection. Many times, you can get a sense of how a therapist conducts him- or herself with this initial phone contact.
Thereafter, let your gut instincts take over at the consultation. If you don’t feel comfortable, it’s perfectly fine to seek out another professional. I encourage second opinions if the match isn’t there. Finding a “good fit” in therapy is more important than in any other kind of professional relationship you’ll have in your life.