As I was reading an article by Megan Hale, MA, LPC, she talked about being a therapist in today’s world. She talked about our profession being filled with challenges, heartaches, and celebration. Also mentioned was how we see you as a client at your lowest point and we see you at your best, but we have no better reward than to see you succeed. The article also talked about the therapeutic relationship and common misconceptions that many clients have when entering therapy. I hope the following list will help you when entering into a therapeutic relationship with someone.
- WE DON’T THINK YOU’RE CRAZY
We think you are amazingly unique trying to find your way in the world. None of us are perfect and we surely don’t expect you to be anywhere close to mastery when you’re learning new skills to change your life. Effective change usually requires trial and lots of errors. It means you’re trying! Plus, if we think you’re being irrational, we will tell you.
- TRUST IS EVERYTHING
Your ability to connect with us will be the number one factor in determining how well we work together. If you don’t feel like you click with us after a few sessions, it’s ok to let us know and seek out a different therapist. We all need different things and our main priority is for you to achieve your goals.
- OUR JOB IS NOT TO PSYCHOANALYZE YOU
Our job is to be curious and to help you gain more understanding. A good therapist doesn’t claim to have all the answers for why you are the way you are although we may have some ideas that we will willingly share with you. When it comes to getting answers and more understanding, we will form hypotheses together and you will come to your own conclusions. A therapist facilitates that process. They don’t tell you how to think/believe/act.
- WE ARE NOT HERE TO GIVE YOU ADVICE
We are here to share knowledge with you and help you make your own decisions that are balanced, rational, and well-explored. Strengthening your own reasoning and decision-making skills will increase your independence and self-esteem.
- WORK THROUGH YOUR EMOTIONS WITH A THERAPIST INSTEAD OF QUITTING, ANGER
Therapy is the perfect place to learn how to express your feelings. That’s what therapy time is for, to give you a space to try out new ways of being, thinking, and feeling. Take advantage of this. We learn how to work through our negative emotions with others, it increases our relationship skills and makes us more comfortable with voicing our hurts. This is a necessary component to maintaining relationships and managing your emotions in a healthy way.
- WE EXPECT YOU TO SLIDE BACKWARD TO OLD BEHAVIOR PATTERNS AND WE ARE NOT HERE TO JUDGE
Most people judge themselves enough for at least two people. We encourage clients to come clean. It’s only through acknowledging our steps backward that we can figure out what’s standing in the way so that you can catapult forward. Relapse is VERY common and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
- YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY
Happiness is not reserved for special people. Everyone has regrets, things we wish we never would have done, people we’ve hurt along the way, people who have hurt us either intentionally or unintentionally. We firmly believe that you can heal these wounds and step into happiness. You deserve it just as much as the next person.
- WE CAN’T ‘FIX’ YOUR LIFE OR YOUR PROBLEMS. ONLY YOU CAN
We can help you gain more clarity, more understanding, and form a plan of action, but therapy is not a magic pill that erases all issues. It takes work, but if you’re up for the challenge, we will be there every step of the way
- THE QUICKEST WAY FROM POINT A TO POINT B IS ACTION
If you continue to come to therapy without putting any new behavior or thoughts into action, progress will be a slow process for you. The path to action is different for everyone, but if you never do anything different, you will never get a different result. You’re the only one who can decide to take action. You hold all the power.
- WE WANT YOU TO HAVE A LIFE YOU WANT
We know your struggles, your dreams, and your insecurities. There is nothing we want more for you than for you to bring your dreams into reality. Your success is the ultimate gift!
People come to therapy for all kinds of reasons. Usually people are experiencing a moderate level of discomfort in their lives and have noticed a toll on their work/school performance and in their relationships. Beginning therapy can be scary for people because you are showing a willing to face tough topics, but for some, it’s a huge relief to finally be taking action to move in a different direction.
Therapy isn’t easy, but I think it’s the most worthwhile gift you can give yourself. Find someone you trust and who puts you at ease. The relationship you build with yourself will be empowering!
Lisa M. Gray