Here is how therapy works, how to be a good client, and how to find a good therapist.
(If we missed anything, please let us know.)
Things get worse before they get better.
We start with this one because it is the most difficult. The three basic therapeutic agreements we expect from our clients are:
Telling the truth to the best of your ability
Acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, needs, and sensations as completely and honestly as possible.
Honoring your agreements with your therapist, or renegotiate existing ones to meet your needs if they change.
As a client, you'll need to be honest with us and with yourself, even if it's embarrassing. It won't last forever, but it is an important part of the process as we build trust in our relationship. The more honesty you come with, the better work we can do togehter.
This isn't hyperbole. And it's not because there is something fundamentally wrong about you! It's because whenever we come into contact with something that hurts, in a supportive environment, we feel more of it.
As the work continues, you will start noticing more and feeling more. If you aren't used to this, it can be distressing. Don't be discouraged though, we will make sure you have the tools and skills you'll need to manage those new sensations. The upside is that while you may feel more discomfort, you will also feel more joy, connection and love!
Not every approach will work for you.
Not every approach, philosophy or therapist will be a good fit for you! There are a few ways to set yourself up for success:
Shop around: You don't have to work with the first therapist that calls you back.
Ask potential therapist what their definition of "health" or "wholeness" is, and see if it resonates with you. Ask more questions too! If you aren't familiar with a word or a style of therapy, ask. We love to educate!
Give critical feedback. Research tells us that if our clients feel comfortable and actually give us critical feedback, they are more likely to have success in therapy. This allows us to adjust our approach, and repair any mistakes we make. Speak up, because this is all about you and your own growth and healing.
What makes therapy work.
What makes therapy work? Relationship. We aren't meant to do this alone. Humans are social animals. We are programmed to be in relationships within communities, supported by others. We are hurt by others, and we can be healed through relationship with others.
The relationship you develop with your therapist is a place to reconsider what you've believed about yourself and the world. It's a place to experiment and grow with someone who sees you as you are, not just how you've come to see yourself.