5 things Therapists wish clients knew
We are not mind readers. If we were, it sure would make our jobs easier! We can only use what information you give us to help you with your treatment planning and problems you are facing. If you withhold information, tell only parts of the truth or downright lie, it will further inhibit any progress you could make in counseling. So if you want to feel better and make therapeutic progress, tell the truth and share as much as you are comfortable sharing. If its easier to stick to one issue at a time then that is totally fine too. Go at your own pace but try to keep as open as possible.
We are not here to judge you, we are here to support you. I have had so many clients fearful to tell me things if they don’t follow through with homework or have a setback with their emotional state. Many seem to worry that I will be disappointed in them and will judge them for not keeping on the right path. This simply is not true! We are not here to judge and we know that your journey through whatever issues you face will not be smooth. There will be bumps along the way and you may regress at times. This is ok! We are here to help you to pick up the pieces and to help you to get your life back on track no matter how far off the road you have veered. We can help you to see the obstacles you face and develop plans for overcoming them. When you have a setback, it is even more essential that you keep your appointment. Many clients feel ashamed or embarrassed because of their behavior and did not follow through with making some changes. Let’s face it, it is easy to slip back into old habits because they are comfortable and familiar. Change is hard and it can be painful at times, but once you stick with it you will find it easier and easier to adopt new habits and ways of coping.
It will take time and effort from you to overcome your issues. Our society moves fast and everyone wants an easy and “quick fix” for their issues. Unfortunately with mental health issues, it doesn’t work that way. For adults in counseling, we have to help you revise unhealthy thought patterns and bad habits that you have accumulated for years, sometimes decades. This means it will take some time to change these and it does not happen overnight. Just sitting and talking in therapy is helpful but to help improve your chances for success, it is important for you to do your therapeutic homework and try new ways of coping. I often feel with some clients that I am doing all the work and we rehash the same issues over and over without moving forward. The more open minded you are and motivated to make changes in your life, the greater your likelihood of overcoming any issues you face.
Be patient with yourself and with the process. It does take courage and strength to reach out for help and plenty of perseverance to keep going. It can make you feel vulnerable to be in therapy as you discuss your inner most thoughts, feelings and relationships. Be patient, it takes time to build a therapeutic relationship with your therapist and feel like you can really open up on even the most difficult of topics. Remember that the more you can give in to the process the more you will get out of it. You may feel stuck in a problem you have and beat yourself up for not being able to try something new. Be patient, maybe you weren’t ready the first time but this could be the week where you really work on that problem and this is ok.
Please let us know when you want to end services. As therapists we do worry when a client stops seeing us and does not officially discharge themselves from services. If you let us know it won’t hurt our feelings but can help give us both a sense of closure as we end the therapeutic relationship. We can give you referrals to other therapists in your community if you feel we are not a good fit. This happens at times where personalities do not match. Our goal is for you to feel better and move onto a better place in your life. If that means going to another provider we are supportive of that.
The most important thing to remember is we are on your side. Therapy is meant to be a safe, nonjudgmental place for you. Remember, if you have questions or concerns about the therapeutic process, just ask. We can help guide you and do whatever needs to be done to make you more comfortable.