What No One Tells You About Therapy (But Should!)

June 01, 2020

It is said we fear the unknown, which is why many people shy away from receiving therapy. It can be intimidating walking into your therapist's office for the very first time, not knowing what to expect.

On the flip side, some people assume they know everything about therapy and are then quite surprised when receiving treatment.

The thing is, although therapy is not as stigmatized as it once was, it is still not talked about in most social circles. And so many people have the wrong ideas about it. If you have been considering seeking help from a mental health professional, you most likely have some questions as well.

With that in mind, here is what no one tells you about therapy -- but should!

It's Not Like on TV

Pop culture would have you believe the minute you step foot into a therapist's office, he or she will have you looking at Rorschach tests and talking about your dreams within minutes.

While these approaches can be used in therapy--and are often quite effective--they are only some of the many tools your therapist has at his or her disposal. The most common one? Just talking. I know it's hard to believe that "just talking" can be helpful but science shows that putting our thoughts and feelings into words helps reorganize our emotions in our brain. So, before you get far into the session, you're already doing something to help.

Dream interpretation may come up, but typically this is only if the client wants to discuss an interesting or disturbing dream they had. Also, many people think the entire session is devoted to discussing your early childhood years and the effect parents have on your life. While many therapists will want to hear your history to uncover specific behavioral patterns and emotional memories that have helped wire the brain, the idea of therapy is NOT to blame your parents for all your current troubles.

You Won't Feel Better Immediately

Although the end goal of therapy is to create better habits and behaviors that lead to creating a happy and fulfilling life, the process of getting there will sometimes be uncomfortable. It is unrealistic to expect you will feel better immediately. In fact, the problems may feel like they are getting worse before they get better. But if you stick with the process, you can count on being able to move more intentionally forward. Therapy works, but it takes time and commitment. 

You Have to Want to Change

You can seek advice from a nutritionist or a personal trainer who will give you the tools to get fit and healthy. But if you don't take their advice and you don't do the work, you most likely won't see results.

The same is true for therapy. Your therapist will be gentle and kind and go at a pace that feels comfortable for you. But ultimately you have to want to get better. It takes work to get you where you want to be. And the way people get better is to face their own behaviors, recognize the patterns, and be willing to try something new. But don't worry, your therapist will be there with you every step of the way, cheering you on.

Therapy isn't magic, but it does provide you with the tools for lasting change.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help.

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