How you can get the Most out of Therapy (Part Two)

by Michael G Quirke, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

More ways you can get the most you can out of therapy…

You have decided to invest your time and money.  Here is how to make sure you get the best result you possibly can…

First a question; what can get in the way?
Ironically, what prevents you from getting the result you want, are the very thoughts, feelings and behaviors that get in their way in other places in your life their lifes.  Therapy is a special kind of relationship and we bring the same dynamics to it that we would bring to any relationshiop

Fear.  One part of you may be scared; another may be trying to protect you. The pursuit of comfort and safety is an innate human motivation.  This drive can become something that can interfere with any relationship.  When we get afraid, we can sometimes close up, attack or run away.  Many of the ways that you protect yourself from fear are habitual and automatic because they were learned when you were very young. These same automatic ways of managing fear are likely to get triggered in your therapy

Low Motivation. ”I don’t really feel like it”. “It’s not worth it”.  If  your motivation is low, talk to your therapist.  He may be able to help you change your motivation level.  Sometimes there are hidden reasons for low motivation; like drugs, alcohol, or subtle depression.

Magical Beliefs.   You believe that your life will just somehow magically improve. One part of you says “This will all just somehow improve without my doing anything, and then you believe it.

Lack of knowledge about how therapy works. Research studies show us that the most influential factor in therapy is the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client.  Therapy is a therapeutic relationship. High quality relationships can only occur when each partner is able to give the other partner feedback in a kind and constructive way.  That means it is important to give your therapist input into how you are doing together.  Good therapeutic work is collaborative and in order for your therapist to do a good job, he relies on input from you.

What do I need to know to use therapy well?
Therapy takes guts. There is no way around it.  Most of us have come up with some pretty slick ways of avoiding things that make us feel uncomfortable.  Some popular beliefs and attitudes that you might use to protect yourself are:

Blame  “My problem is some else’s fault
Minimization  “It’s not that bad”
Denial. “Problem? What Problem?”

How you can get past your inner saboteur.

Make as specific a commitment to therapy as possible. For example “We will meet once per week for six weeks and then evaluate our progress.”  Choosing a specific goal to achieve is another way to put some high octane fuel into your therapy.

Talk to your therapist.  It’s his or her job to help you achieve your goals.  He is trained a helping you see the hidden obstacles you have  that interfere with your goals. These may be things you do, limiting beliefs, or feelings.