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What Not to Expect from Psychotherapy

You're Not Talking To Friend

You will share your intimate details but your therapist will not often reciprocate. He won’t often direct or evaluate your choices, as they won’t be dealing with their consequences.

More commonly, your therapist will ask you questions and reflect what you said to help guide you in determining what you want to do and why. Your therapist may guide you to consider options and consequences you hadn’t, remind you about prior decisions (and their consequences) or flag repeated patterns.

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What Not to Expect from Psychotherapy

What Not to Expect from Psychotherapy

https://www.verywellmind.com/common-misconceptions-about-psychotherapy-4067089

verywellmind.com

7

Key Ideas

Psychotherapy Misconceptions

People do form conceptualizations of psychotherapy based on media portrayals.

While you may balance out fictionalized, sometimes-damaging depictions of professionals like physicians or teachers with your real-life experience with them, most people don’t have much or any experience with mental health professionals to balance out their fictionalized impressions.

The Dangers Of Psychotherapy Misconceptions

Misconceptions may make it hard for you to pinpoint the threshold for significant psychological distress in yourself or others. And can add hurdles to successfully initiating psychotherapy or being willing to stick with it.

Understanding what not to expect from the experience can help you approach treatment as an educated consumer with an open mind.

There's No 'Quick Fix'

Some approaches take more time than others, but it is highly unlikely that lasting change for longstanding issues can be achieved in a few sessions of psychotherapy.

The first appointments are to determine if (and what kind of) therapy can be helpful. You will talk about what led you to seek care and about medical, social, and family history to help the therapist get to know you better.

The Process Is Not Easy

It will require you, and your therapist, to take a hard look at yourself. 

You and your therapist will work together to (1) develop more awareness on what causes the problem, (2) understand how your current patterns affect you, and (3) experiment with different ways of thinking, doing, relating, and coping.

You're Not Talking To Friend

You will share your intimate details but your therapist will not often reciprocate. He won’t often direct or evaluate your choices, as they won’t be dealing with their consequences.

More commonly, your therapist will ask you questions and reflect what you said to help guide you in determining what you want to do and why. Your therapist may guide you to consider options and consequences you hadn’t, remind you about prior decisions (and their consequences) or flag repeated patterns.

Therapists Are Different

Every therapist has their own particular therapeutic style, areas of clinical experience, and temperament.

Like any relationship, the therapeutic one is subject to personal compatibility. You may not ‘click’ with your first therapist, or during the very first appointment. It may require a few sessions with different professionals to determine the best fit for you.

Identifying The Best Fit

  • Have they answered your questions to your satisfaction about your diagnosis, their clinical experience, and what treatment could involve?
  • Do they convey professionalism?
  • Do they ask thoughtful questions?
  • How comfortable do you feel talking openly with the therapist?
  • Do you like their style, including their extent of interaction with you, use of humor, ability to perceive and address your emotional state during a session?

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Therapy Techniques
  • Some therapists are just there to listen and provide a backdrop.
  • Even the silence that they exhibit seems to kindle the patients into divulging more of their most uncomfortable truths.
  • Others keep the sequence of assignments and tests lined up, never pausing.
  • Therapists play varied roles to get some valuable information out of the patient and make him better.
Therapy That Works

No particular form of therapy is proven to be better or more effective than others.

Different people prefer or respond to different forms of therapy.

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Deciding to see a therapist

You don’t need to have a specific diagnosis to benefit from therapy.

Most of us have some aspects of our lives we would like to improve: relationships that are in need of some rehab or...

Going through a big change

Change, even if it’s positive, can lead to emotional and physical stress: you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to expect and that leads to confusion.

A professional can help you through a situation that feels insurmountable.

Repeating unhealthy patterns

Everyone makes missteps and occasionally slips into risky behaviors.

But when you can’t stop a specific behavior, if it’s interfering with your ability to function properly in your daily life, or it’s negatively affecting your relationships, it’s time to pause and seek help.

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Therapists Are Not Paid Friends

A therapist should be someone you trust will keep your secrets, and hopefully someone whose company you enjoy, as finding a good fit is an important part of successful therapy.

Therapy Couch

There is a common misconception that going to therapy, you will lie down on a couch, staring at the ceiling, and talk while an emotionless professional sits near you and writes on a notepad.

Most therapists do have couches in their offices. But many people in therapy choose to sit and talk to their therapist, who often responds. 

Duration Of Therapy 

Some methods of psychotherapy and complex issues may take some time, but many interventions are shorter. Also, many choose to stay in therapy after the issue that brought them has been addressed to better understand themselves and their thoughts.

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