Going to therapy can be hard. Really hard. So hard that you might not want to do it. However, going to therapy is also amazingly rewarding and a wonderful step towards personal growth and changing your life. The following is a list of things that I wish people knew before going to therapy (or that my clients knew while coming to therapy as these tend to be hot topics in my office!).
Here we go, things I wish my clients knew before and during therapy:
- I am not here to judge you. No seriously, I really am not judging you for your life and choices! The goal of therapy in my eyes is for me to try and understand you and help you understand yourself, which in turn, produces tons of amazing effects (increased self-esteem and confidence, reduced symptoms, better relationships, increased life satisfaction, etc). But the goal certainly is not for me to “analyze” you and in essence find you “less than.” Therapy is a space for you to be you and to feel genuinely supported and heard by someone. For that to happen, I am not looking for your flaws but for your strength. I will help you see your best side and see areas you want to change, not areas I think you should change. Which brings me to my next point…
- Where you go with therapy is up to you… sure I have lots and lots of ideas about what might be helpful and I will be a guide in the process. However, the goals are yours to create as it is your life we are working on – not my perception of how your life “should” be. This goes back to the judgment part also, your life is yours to evaluate, not mine. While I can help you understand the effects of your choices, I respect your right to choose whatever path you choose.
- I am not going to “fix” you, your life, your marriage, or your child/teen. I’m sorry to let you down but I do not fix things in some magical way, I help you see what you can do to improve your life and support you while you make those daily hard choices to take action and make changes. The amazing part of this means that your success is yours, not mine.
- I genuinely care deeply for my clients. I always tell people that I am a terrible liar and it’s true, I turn red and get really nervous and awkward when I lie. Nothing about our therapy relationship is untrue, it is definitely based on caring for the people with whom I work. While there are also boundaries in this relationship that you will not find in others, that does not mean that I do not care or value our relationship.
- You are not broken, weak, or flawed for asking for help. Please repeat that over and over to yourself if that is difficult for you to accept. I fundamentally believe that there is nothing more terrifying or powerful than presenting your full truth and vulnerable emotions to another person and sitting in that relationship with them. We are so often told that asking for help is a problem, a weakness, or a flaw that it can be very difficult to ask for what you need. To me, the very opposite is true. I believe that my clients are brave, strong, and fiercely resilient in their lives and I am honored to be able to know them and walk with them through their process.
I hope this list is helpful in orienting my clients and other people to therapy and what therapy is all about. If you would like to speak with me about how my services might be helpful to you, please feel free to contact me!
Thanks for reading!