FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THERAPY
MYTH: Therapists sit behind desks taking notes while you lie on a couch.FACT: This is rarely the case. Trained clinicians know that the arrangement and distance between them and the client are critical for a safe and workable therapeutic alliance. Psychological or physical separation from the client can create subtle authority and intimidation and an inability on the client’s part to fully connect and disclose information pertinent to treatment. The typical therapeutic setting is much like your living room where both parties sit in comfortable chairs without barriers between them. With the exception of the initial appointment, most therapists refrain from taking notes until after the session so they can be present with clients. MYTH: Psychotherapy is mostly just talk.FACT: Therapy is not passive. Although therapy can be depicted as therapists just listening to clients vent, nodding their heads in approval, and mirroring back the same words, these are stereotypes. With today’s cutting-edge therapies, clinicians are trained in experiential and therapist-led modalities that engage both parties in an interactive collaborative process based on dialogue and the client’s active engagement in joint problem-solving. Together, therapists and clients identify problems, set goals, and monitor progress sometimes with homework and reading assignments as part of the process.
MYTH: Therapists have ready-made solutions for all of their client's problems.FACT: What is important in establishing the therapist-client alliance is not what the therapist thinks is important to bring about change but what the client thinks is important. A good therapist tailors treatment sessions around the needs of clients instead of plugging clients into ready-made formulas. In so doing, clinicians listen not just to the content of the story but for deeper themes and patterns, This allows the professional to mirror feedback based on these emerging themes and patterns that can facilitate change, not just the repetitive words and phrases that clients supply.
MYTH: Therapist blame a client’s problem on their upbringing.FACT: Although this is also often portrayed, a well-trained therapist does not blame or shame. They do not blame clients or their parents. They bring an objective, bird’s-eye perspective to help clients and allow them to take responsibility for their lives. Professional therapists never admonish, blame, or shame clients into change.
MYTH: Psychotherapy can solve problems in one or two sessions.FACT: While convenient for the novel or television show to have a character “fixed” in a session or two, it does not work that way in real life. The average session is around 50 minutes and the first session is an intake and getting acquainted session. To get to the heart of a problem, psychotherapy likely will take several sessions over time although some clients benefit greatly from a handful of sessions; however, there is not a magic number of sessions.