Whether you’re seeing a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist you should know that being a therapist can be a simply amazing profession full of challenges, heartaches and celebration. Your therapist sees you at your worst and your best, and their best reward is to see you succeed. Here are some aspects of the patient-therapist relationship that are either common misconceptions or simply unknown. Hopefully this clarifies what you can expect from working with a therapist.
- We don’t think you’re crazy.
Therapists genuinely believe that you are a unique and beautiful soul trying to find your way through this complex world. None of us are perfect and your therapist doesn’t expect you to be anywhere close to being a master when you’re learning new skills to change your life. Positive and effective change usually requires trial and lots of errors — it means you’re actually trying! Plus, if they think you’re being irrational, they’ll let you know.
- Trust is everything.
Your ability to connect with your therapist will be the number one factor determining how well you work together. If you’re not feeling a connection with your therapist within a few sessions it is perfectly acceptable to let them know and seek out someone else. Everyone requires different things and a therapist’s main priority is for you to achieve your goals.
- A therapist’s job is not to psychoanalyze you.
A therapist’s 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 they may have some ideas that they’ll definitely share with you. When it comes to getting answers and more understanding, you will form hypotheses together and come to your own conclusions. A therapist facilitates that process. They don’t tell you how to think, believe or act.
- Therapists are not here to give you advice.
Therapists are there for you to share their knowledge to 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 your therapist instead of quitting.
Therapy is the perfect place to learn how to express your feelings. That’s what they’re there for, to give you a space to try out new ways of being, thinking, and feeling. Take advantage of this. When learning 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 emotions in a healthy way.
- Therapists expect you to slide backward to old behavior patterns and aren’t here to judge you.
Most people judge themselves enough for at least two people. Therapists encourage their 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. Therapists are firm believers that everyone can heal their wounds and step into happiness. You deserve it just as much as the next person.
- Therapists can’t “fix” your life or your problems. Only you can.
Therapists can help you gain more clarity, more understanding, and form a plan of action, but counselling is not a magic pill that erases all issues. It takes work, but if you’re up for the challenge, they’ll be there every step of the way!
- The quickest way from point A to point B is ACTION.
If you continue to go to therapy without putting any new behaviors or thoughts into action, progress will be a slow course for you. The path to action is different for everyone, but if you never do anything different, you’ll never get a different result. You’re the only one who can decide to take action. You hold all the power.
- Therapists want YOU to have the life you want.
Your therapist knows your struggles, your dreams, and your insecurities. There is nothing they want more than to bring your dreams into reality, push through your fears, and have the life you want. Your success is the ultimate gift to a therapist!
People go 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 or school performance and in their relationships. Beginning therapy can be scary for some as they are showing a willingness to face tough topics, but for others, it’s a huge relief to finally be taking action to move in a different direction.
Therapy isn’t always easy, but 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 your therapist is the most important aspect of all.