How to Talk to a Therapist
There is a way to talk to your therapist. It’s a way which helps both you and the therapist and makes your sessions really worthwhile. There are certain things you can do to make your time as productive as possible.
First, understand you are in a business transaction. You have rights. In fact as the person paying the fee you have every right to request certain information and action. Don’t see yourself as a helpless individual. Speak up. Most therapists welcome feedback and if it is positive and you are sincere, it is most likely that only good can come from your opinion.
Second, don’t allow your lack of knowledge in the field of therapy to keep you quiet. Of course the therapist knows more than you but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions and make comments. Therapists are human and make mistakes. See yourself as an equal even though you trust the expert to help you solve your problem.
Third, do your homework. After a session, sit down and write out what you have learned and what you have been confused or uncertain about. Study these notes and add to them over the time before your next session. Before you begin your next session have a list of questions and/or comments. Don’t let the therapist run the show. Ask your questions and clarify any issue in which you have doubts.
Fourth, develop a team mentality. Therapy is an emotive activity and you might well become distressed and emotional. Try and remain calm even if the points you re-live are touching a raw nerve. But never look upon your therapist as the enemy. In fact regard him or her as your team mate. Together you will overcome your difficulty. You need their help and any good therapist will be in there working as hard as possible to make you a winner. Work with them and never against them.
Fifth, stay the course. Some can last for months or even longer. It stands to reason that over many sessions you will not always be happy with your therapist or the recommendations they make. You always have the choice of leaving your therapist but if you are generally happy, any problem could be sorted out by using a mediator. This person could be another therapist or someone who works professionally in mediation. Invite this person to offer a solution to any problem which may have arisen. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Finally there is always the time when in some cases, the patient and the therapist do not get along. You as the patient could try such tacks as, “I’m not happy because of such and such. What do you suggest?” If that approach gets a negative response or the response doesn’t resolve your concern, the best option is to stop talking and find another therapist. It happens and sometimes is the only way forward.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in:
What is Marriage and Family Therapy?