10 Things You May Want to Know but Unlikely to Ask
10 ♦ There is no reason to be suspicious about what the therapist is writing. I write things down because I’m an imperfect human with spotty memory. I might even be doodling but honestly, I just don’t want to look idiotic during subsequent sessions by not recalling essentials.
9 ♦ I will challenge you during discussions. I find it very hard to simply sit silently and not reflect back to you, or offer suggestions. There are many techniques used to challenge your thinking and actions. It is our job to challenge you and to support changing toward accomplishing your identified goals. If you only want to use counseling to vent, we may not be a good fit for you.
8 ♦ There is a lot of stuff that make us who we are and we are very malleable during our childhood years on planet earth. When the therapist asks about your childhood, just answer the question. If it didn’t matter, she wouldn’t bother asking. This is simply about how you learned to cope with life. It’s not about blame so don’t take offense.
7 ♦ We know a lot of stuff about being human and living on earth. Therapists spend a lot of time and money on becoming professionals, and most of us have a life long commitment to repay hefty educational loans to show for it. Suggestions and the identification or endorsement of alternatives views are not instructions. If your therapist makes a suggestion, try it or not. IT MAY HELP! It may not. And if you come into therapy assuming that nothing will work then you will do nothing differently and nothing will change. The choice and change is yours.
6 ♦ Sure, therapy can be expensive. But most private therapists have sliding scale fees? Yeah. It’s in our bitchin’ code of ethics to work with people around payment. So, before you decide not to begin therapy because you can’t afford it, just ask.
5 ♦ The therapist WILL in some way ask you how you are feeling. You know what? IT MATTERS. It’s cliché but let’s face it, feelings are what we all tend to avoid and that’s probably why you’re in therapy. Just get over it already.
4 ♦ You are not a broken car. You are not something to be fixed. The therapist cannot free you of hysterical, over-the-top, inappropriate emotional reactions. We can offer suggestions and information about ways to reduce symptoms. We cannot live your life for you and our psychotherapists are NOT life coaches. You must figure out what works for you.
3 ♦ Yes, all of our offices have couches. But, do not lay down on it the moment you walk in the door. As some teenage clients would say………awkward.
2 ♦ If we’re not clicking personality-wise, don’t be afraid to speak up. There may be a change that can be made. If there is a serious clash let it be known and do not schedule a session that you do not intend to keep. Therapists really do not take this personally; we are professionals.
1 ♦ Please show up. Professional psychotherapists don’t get paid when clients don’t show up. So, if you can’t make it – or you’re pissed at us for something said in your last session – just call and re-schedule. It’s not cool and if you do this a lot, someday I will simply ignore your calls. Okay, probably not. Respect is a mutual exchange, show up or call to let us know. I have a 3-column list of things I could be doing if you aren’t going to be there.
Psychotherapists are unique professionals not clones. Freud is a has been ~ has been dead too long now, so leave him out of what I do.