The three C’s
At the beginning of therapy, many people are curious about what they need to do to make therapy effective for them. While they don’t know what therapy will entail they do know why they’re coming in and that they will most likely be talking about their childhood. This is the stigma that describes the therapy experience still today. And while this continues to be the status quo the therapy experience is much more than a presenting problem, a history report and positive affirmation to which you feel good for a few days but the feel good often doesn’t last. So the client returns and this pattern can continue if the person believes this is as good as it gets.
For some this is the case but for others the true definition of therapy involves some sort of a means to an end. In other words there should be a solution, an explanation, and a process to help you actually get there. But what most are left with instead is more information to add to what they already know.
Its like preaching to the choir because you’ve told your story so many times now that its become a monologue you’ve mastered emphasizing the parts of it that you’ve learned are probably the source of your current problems. And your therapist has probably mastered hearing it as the two of you agree on the source of your problem and then unfortunate circumstances to which you grew up.
Does this sound familiar to you? And this is just the content part of your therapy. What have your experiences been like so far?
Do they seem genuinely interested?
Are they talking more then they listen?
Do they talk over you and/or finish your sentences?
Do they apologize when they do?
Do they appear pre-occupied?
Do you feel like they can relate to you?
Do they present themselves as if they are attuned to current trends?
And more importantly, are they asking the right questions?
Do their questions prompt you to stop and think?
Are these questions new to you?
Do they explain why they’re asking those questions?
Are they providing explanations?
And do you feel enlightened?
Do you leave session in thought with a new direction in which to investigate?
In my opinion good therapy feels like a new experience as if you’ve heard or felt something for the very first time. And as if what you heard was unique to you and your circumstances.
As human beings one of our greatest needs is the need to feel understood and ac-cepted by others. This is a crucial component to therapy and most often the reason clients don’t connect with their therapist.
And now that we’ve covered the content and the clinician let’s address the condi-tions. Because the environment is also crucial to the process of an effective therapy experience. In other words, the room should feel safe. In addition, the environment should foster feelings of acceptance and in my opinion, feelings of love. As a result, you would feel drawn to your therapist like a child drawn to a parent. And for those of you who have experienced that you know exactly what it feels like.
But before you decide to bag your therapist and seek out another it’s also important to investigate your role in session. Because the therapist can only take you as far as you’re willing to go.
Are you asking questions?
Are you absorbing the information?
Are you asking for re-clarification on what isn’t being absorbed?
Are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable?
If not, are you sharing that too?
Are you shutting down?
Are you tuning the therapist out?
Are you bothered by the direction of your conversation?
Are you sharing with the therapist any resistance that’s coming up for you?
Are you walking into therapy with an open mind?
Have you had prior negative experiences with therapists?
If so, have you shared that?
Are you doing the work in between sessions?
Let’s say everything is lining up and you’re feeling a true connection with your therapist and now your ready to get to work. But just as you embrace this new found relationship it suddenly sinks in that this is for real this time.
Be careful if your out seeking solutions because you just may find the right thera-pist to get you there so being ready when that moment happens is going to be im-portant.
In my next video I’m going to share some of the very common concerns and areas of resistance that many will experience as they start down that path in therapy. This will not only normalize your concerns but also help you to feel confident moving forward and getting all that you can out of therapy.
So for now here’s to living!