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What are your expectations from a therapist?

Old 08-09-2017, 06:38 PM
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What are your expectations from a therapist?

I'm new to therapy and have my third 45 minute session tomorrow. So far I like the guy and the time flies by. It feels like I just talk a lot and there's no real structure to the process yet. It's just the beginning of course and I know this is a long commitment.

I'd appreciate some thoughts on what your expectations are and how you judge if a therapist is right for you (posting here instead of in the mental health section to hopefully get more input).

I just finished reading "Living The Truth" by Dr. Keith Ablow and here's what he says-

How do you know if you’ve found a good therapist? You’ll find yourself saying things like “I’ve never thought about my life this way before.” “I just feel like I’m seeing things about myself that I haven’t been willing to look at.” I don’t think I’ve really started getting to know myself until now.” Or you’ll find yourself driving home from sessions thinking things like, why haven’t I ever wanted to know exactly why my mother and my father split up? Couldn’t the way they related to each other be affecting my marriage today?” You may suddenly realize the unsupportive person you’re living with reminds you an awful lot of your ex-husband and start to wonder why you keep choosing men who undermine you. If you don’t have these kinds of thoughts within six one hour sessions, try another therapist.

And regardless of who you choose as your listener, make sure you feel challenged, not just comforted by that person. You want someone who will test the truth of your statements by questioning you with a bit of cynical edge when necessary, someone intent on keeping you honest, someone who’ll push you to see things you may still be loath to look at. If talking to the person doesn’t feel like work at least some of the time, then save your breath.



Here's a couple of excerpts from the book I found meaningful-

YOU ARE THE HERO OF YOUR OWN LIFE STORY. None of us will live forever. Our life stories will end. When you focus on who you want to be when saying goodbye to this world and imagine yourself the most complete and satisfied person possible, you will enrich every step of your journey.

Don’t be afraid to see your personal growth as an epic battle you must fight on all fronts. Make no mistake about it, embracing the truth and becoming the person you were meant to be is war. You should be in a fighting mood. Not only are you opposing your own instinct to avoid psychological pain but you are opposing the instincts of others who may well discourage your exploration, especially if it puts them in touch with their own truths.


Dr. Ablow on treating addicted patients…”I am certain that in order to truly heal these individuals, a therapist must encourage them to confront the original sources of the pain they are desperately trying to avoid. The therapist must literally help patients summon the will to reopen early chapters in their life stories that their minds have kept closed out of fear. The path to being more complete and effective and loving person is through pain. Try to get around it, and you just lose yourself in it. When you stop running from your suffering, you stop it from running your life. We heal by facing pain and feeling pain, never by fleeing pain. Become an investigator of your own life history, a person in relentless pursuit of the truth, convinced the mystery of your suffering can be solved by looking in the mirror you’ve exposed by lowering your shields.

Living the truth means unearthing the painful chapters of your life story, moving beyond blaming those who have hurt you, and freeing yourself to “write” powerful, loving chapters in the future.
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Old 08-10-2017, 12:00 AM
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Therapy. My favorite topic. I love seeing a psychologist, I have since I was young (17ish) and more or less have seen one since then.
What is crucial is that you find a therapist that you really click with. This is difficult because it sometimes takes a few sessions before you know, then you have either found the one and keep going or have to cut your losses and move on. But when you find the right person it can be very helpful. I have had two wonderful, wonderful psychologists in my life. One, a female in the US and another, a male here in in Italy. They couldn't be more different people if they tried and their approaches to therapy were very different but I clicked with them in a way I didn't with others and the work we did together was very helpful.

So as to your question, it is very personal. It can change depending on the psychologist you find. What I find most important is the personal relationship. There are may schools of thought in psychology and many different ways of treating people. Some work for some people and others not. It just depends. For example, I saw one therapist who every session would do EMDR and I got absolutely nothing from it. There are others here, who may chime in, who say that EMDR was one of the most helpful and life-bettering things they have ever done.

The most important thing is that you go in and are as open and honest as possible. You share you feelings about everything, including how you feel about therapy and your therapist. If you are unable to do this, it might be a sign that it is not the right person.

But give it a good, solid go before moving on, sometimes building a relationship takes time.

Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:36 AM
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^ Thank you for your insightful response! My therapist said he usually doesn't discuss long term goals and how to get there unless the client wants that. Maybe my expectations are a little skewed after reading the book I quoted. Time will tell and at least I'm in the right path.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:12 AM
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to listen and guide- not instruct I have to go into a session with some goal in mind, not just blab on in a pity party. CBT works very well for me.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:13 AM
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