Turner Professional Group
You might think, "I'm not that bad off" or "Therapy is not for me!" However, a counselor can be like a personal "life coach", a trained professional in your corner just for you - helping ensure that you maximize your life potential, achieve personal happiness and enjoy romance.
This may sound obvious. Typical individual sessions are fifty (50) minutes and couples sessions are seventy-five (75) minutes, which allows the therapist ten (10) minutes to complete his/her notes before the next session. Therefore, it is imperative that you take full advantage of your time by arriving on time.
I actually advise clients to arrive early, if at all possible, for their appointment in order to visit the restroom, prepare a cup of tea, remove coats and have a moment of relaxation. This is your time to work on you so I encourage clients to integrate good habits throughout their daily routine. Most importantly by arriving even five minutes before your session, it provides a smooth transition into a more productive session for you allowing you to unwind from the outside world, focus on the upcoming session, and review any homework. Clients should avoid running into their appointment, gasping for air, mentally frazzled and exhausted.
Generally sessions are flexible and allow for clients to lead the direction. While there may be no set agenda or timeline, most sessions have a therapeutic flow. Ask your therapist his/her personal approach to sessions. My clients always take care of payment at the very beginning in order to provide for better closure at the end of the session. For example, if the session has been especially successful or emotionally difficult, the last thing the client wants to deal with is payment. Most have payment ready when they enter the session, which includes checks written and logged, or exact cash in an envelope, which they hand to me first thing.
In general, most sessions will start with some general small talk, transitioning into a review of the last session and any homework that was assigned. This may last anywhere from 5-15 minutes. The bulk of time (25-30 minutes) is spent on discussion items or new topics that you would like to introduce. The last five minutes of your session is devoted to homework assignments, scheduling next appointments.
That!” and then discount the idea—rather ask yourself, “ How good am I at that?” and consider, could you do it better. Look for a way to improve upon the idea that was just suggested. Take it, adapt it, use it Adapt concepts and words to your personality and style. Look for a fit before casting new ideas to the side. Be willing to pick out what will work, concentrate on that, without spending unnecessary time and energy focused on what didn’t.. Think how will this work for me… Try to use the principles as soon as hear it!
It is not productive for your growth or good use of the session to sit on information until the last minute. I ask clients to avoid dropping big news as they are leaving or asking a question requiring more than a simple answer in the last five minutes of a session. If you have a major issue for discussion it is your responsibility to introduce it early in the session in order for your therapist and you to have adequate time for a thorough review of the topic.
While it is okay to question your therapist and even disagree with him/her, it is equally important to develop a trusting relationship. If you have not developed a ‘trust bond’ after a few sessions, please discuss this with your therapist. It is imperative to your future success. Your therapist and you need to resolve this challenge or discuss a possible referral.
Remember your therapist is not an adversary. The purpose of therapy is not for you to find fault, critique technique, doubt direction or debate theory. If you find yourself focused on these details it may be counterproductive to your growth. Enter into therapy knowing that your therapist may ask you tough questions or to explore difficult subject matters. Allow your therapist some professional latitude to challenge your comfort zones. It is the process of confronting or exploring these areas where clients often find the greatest progress. Trust your guide!
Remember that you are not in competition with your therapist and your job is not to destroy all new ideas suggested by your therapist. Search for what you don’t know - NOT what you do. Try to avoid criticizing new ideas, or thinking “that won’t work”. Come to each therapy session with an open mind. Find the ‘ah-ha’s’ and convert them to your world. Make it your task to walk away with six (6) ‘idea gems’ that you can use tomorrow.
Don’t cut off the thought too soon. Stick with it ---listen all the way out. Listen with intent to learn and grow. Most of us listen for the sole purpose of ---Waiting for a pause from the other person so we can counter with our points. Some do not even wait for a pause. Remember therapy is not a debate where you have to be ‘right’. Be open to change, by re-focusing your listening to ‘understanding’.
Each person and couple is unique. You can help your therapist by teaching him/her the style and questions he or she uses that work best for you as an individual and as a couple. That does not mean that you run the therapy. The therapist does have some expertise and good reasons for doing what he or she is doing, but a good therapist also has some room for flexibility. If you have been in counseling before and found some aspect or method particularly helpful, let your therapist know about that.
Therapy can be a difficult and challenging field of work. Your therapist sees people when they are at their most stressed, and sometimes most impatient. Sometimes the therapist doesn’t know whether he or she has been helpful, because people don’t return or change takes some time. So, most therapists appreciate hearing that they have done something that worked or was helpful. This can also make your therapy experience more productive, since your therapist will have your feedback to guide him or her in future attempts to help you.
If you attend therapy expecting to go back to your childhood to find the roots of the problem and your therapist focuses on the present, someone is bound to be frustrated if that expectation isn’t brought up and discussed before you proceed. Also, you might indicate how long you had anticipated you would attend therapy, and how often, to make sure you and the therapist are on the same track.
Like telling your therapist your expectations and letting them know what has worked or is helping, letting him or her know when something isn’t helping is important. This includes what is happening at home as well as during your therapy sessions. This gives the opportunity for mid-course corrections in the therapy process.
Some people think that they shouldn’t speak up about their worries or objections to their therapist’s suggestions, but a free and frank discussion about any misgiving helps your therapist deal with your concerns and make any adjustments to ensure a higher likelihood of success.
About the therapy process, fees, any suggestions or methods, the therapist’s training and qualifications, etc. Anything you are curious about. If it gets too personal or the therapist considers the questions intrusive or inappropriate, he or she will let you know.
All professions have jargon and buzzwords. If your therapist suggests an MMPI to check out whether you have MPD or ADHD, you have a perfect right to have a translation into language you understand.
Therapy is a journey of exploration, learning and growing…Enjoy the journey!
A professional therapist can help you sort out life's challenges, identify healthy choices, and help manage successful career paths. A therapist can be a like a professional coach, helping to make your healing journey more successful. However, you are the most important partner in this collaboration, so voice your needs, suggestions, concerns, and thoughts with your therapist.