5 Things Your Therapist Wishes You Knew
Myths about therapists and therapy abound in American culture. The therapeutic method is often shrouded in misconceptions, mystery, and stigma. There are things therapists certainly wish their clients understood. Shame about mental illness and what actually occurs in a therapist’s office can ruin a person’s healing process — while also sometimes preventing people from getting the help they truly require.
Also, concerns about therapists and therapy can confuse even the most loyal therapy-goer: Easing into the process while creating a trust-based connection with your therapist is vital to getting the most out of your therapy settings. If you’ve got some nagging doubts about whether or not your therapist is judging you or just anxieties about therapy in general, don’t worry. Expert therapists are a caring and altruistic breed, and bottom line, they honestly just want the best for you. Here are 5 things your therapist would really like for you to know, so you can feel safer about getting some help.
Needing therapy does not mean you’re “crazy.”
Therapy is about learning to deal with your feelings and thoughts more effectively. And there’s no disgrace in having a mental health diagnosis like bipolar disorder, depression, or PTSD either. Mental health shame often prevents people who need treatment the most from receiving help. Do not circumvent therapy because you’re concerned about what your friends and family might think of you! Just know that it takes a lot of strength to inquire about help when you require it. You are not flawed or weak for going to therapy, and having a mental health diagnosis doesn’t suggest that you’re “crazy.”
Things can get better.
A relevant concept for dealing with emotional distress is something called ‘learned hopelessness.’ After fighting against pain for some time and getting no relief, we discover that we can do nothing to make things better and grow hopeless. This doesn’t mean that things really are hopeless. Sometimes, we just don’t know what will help us get out of the pain we’re in.
But your therapist can’t “fix” you.
The biggest suspicion that interferes with therapy is that therapists will ‘fix’ you— that they will be passive shareholders in the process. Rather, therapy is more of a connection between client and therapist. It will only be achieved if both individuals are actively engaging in the process. Therapists are like park guides. Guides know how to overcome obstacles and travel the terrain, but they don’t carry anyone on their backs. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the advantage at the end is that the client has completed the work and should feel empowered by engaging in the journey themselves.
Therapists are trying too.
Your therapist is an imperfect person with weaknesses and strengths, just like you. You must remember that when starting therapy and continue to remind yourself throughout treatment.
Your therapist is really not judging you.
Suppose you are sometimes very critical of yourself. In that case, it can be a challenge to accept that your therapist is not, in fact, judging you — even as you open up about your most hidden problems and flaws in their office.
No matter what your concerns about therapy might be, a good therapist can help encourage you in the process that is ultimately meant to empower you. By learning new ways to manage a mental health diagnosis, setting better communication skills, or healing old wounds, your therapist is an ally as you form new strengths. Setting your fears aside as you become fully involved in the therapeutic process can produce your treatment’s best end result.