It is an incredibly difficult and courageous thing for someone to seek help when they are struggling with mental health concerns. Taking that step can be scary for people however this step is one of the most beneficial things that someone can do for their overall well-being. That being said we need to address what to expect from therapy.
As a therapist who has been in this field under many different hats before entering private practice, I have heard a lot of different things about what Clients initially thought therapy would be. I have heard, “therapy is like talking to a friend”, “I keep thinking my therapist will solve this for me”, “how long does this take?”, etc. The funny thing about therapy is....it isn't about friendship, it isn't about problem solving for a Client, and therapists cannot guesstimate exactly how long therapy will “take”.
While therapy is all about you, your family, your goals, it is not about cultivating a friendship with your therapist. What it is about, is cultivating a trusting relationship with your therapist in order to meet a set goal. While you can like and certainly be friendly with your therapist, you two are not friends. Friends are not objective people in your life who can guide you to a solution without their own biases getting in the way.
Speaking of goals. Therapists assist in goal setting, exploration and processing of concerns. They do not do not solve problems for you. What Clients need to realize is that therapists do not give solutions, they aid Clients in searching for their own answers that are healthy and appropriate for their needs and their lives.
When one is considering therapy it is important to keep those things in mind. It is also helpful to remember that therapy can be brief or it can span years. The length of time is contingent on many things particularly on the amount of consistent work the Client is willing to put in to the therapy. Therapists can provide all the tools in the world, they won't do much good if they aren't being used.
The last thing I can recommend for those daring to take this wonderful step is, if you aren't feeling connected to the therapist, ask yourself what is preventing that trusting relationship from developing? Is the therapist not going where you need them to be? Are they disclosing too much about themselves? Not of enough coping skills that you feel play to your strengths?
Whatever it is that you need, ask for it. There is no better relationship in where you can ask for what you need without the fear of repercussions, than in the therapist-client relationship. Therapy is a commitment that is worth the time investment. Be kind to yourself and take that step if you think you need it, like a friend once said, “I've never sat down with my therapist, had a session and thought, 'boy I wish I hadn't done that'”.
If you are ready to start your counseling journey, visit our website by clicking HEREor give us a call at 815-577-8970.