Starting therapy is hard. Period. It is hard to ask for help. It is hard to risk intimacy with a stranger. It is hard to build a relationship. These are essential elements of successful therapy.
As I left my internship site at the end of graduate school, many of my clients told me that our therapy experience together was different than what they had expected. I was confused at what they meant until I asked more. Many clients told me that they expected to lay on a couch and talk about their parents, or that they expected me to frequently ask, “How does that make you feel?” While I can never promise not to ask how something makes you feel, I try not to make that the focus of every session.
Counseling is unique to each person and each therapist. Each member of the counseling relationship is bringing their own experience to the session. My experiences have led me to strive for an environment in which you feel safe. For me, I would not even dream of sharing truly intimate information with someone I do not feel safe or comfortable around. This is why I put so much emphasis on creating an environment that revolves around the therapeutic relationship. I align myself with a gestalt approach that involves challenging the masks we wear in our daily lives. It is important to validate lived experiences, but I believe that it is also crucial to the healing process to challenge habits and beliefs that no longer serve a purpose.
Therapy is what you make of it. If you want to be free of flashbacks or have fewer sad days in which you struggle to leave bed, you have the ability to work towards that! If all you want is a check mark for a psychology class, that is alright, too. Something I like to ask my clients regularly is, “What do you need from me today?”
Now I am asking this of you, readers in the world wide web: What do you need today?
If you would like to know more about this topic, reach out to Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a consultation or initial session, please call (303) 720-9424.