In my counseling office, I work with people from different walks of life. Each person has a unique step, story, and understanding of the world. My job as a counselor is to tune in to each specific client’s need and focus in on the goal at hand. One speed bump that I run into while I going down the journey with some clients, is that they tend to have a belief about how therapy is supposed to turn out. Some people are right on. They know it will be hard work and that counseling will take some time, but others have other expectations (or as I like to call them…misconceptions) about the counseling process.
Here are the Top 8 Misconceptions People Have About Counseling:
1. One size fits all: Unlike certain clothing items that are “one size fits all,” therapy is not! Picking the therapist that is right for you is very important. And no decision should be made in haste. One size does not fit all. With therapy you have to shop and research. Do you homework and interview them. You will know when it’s right after you have done your part. You need to know the therapist’s “school of thought” (or theory), your comfort level with the counselor, and approach. Learn more on how to find a counselor
2. Asking your therapist to lie for you: Really…? Don’t ask the therapist to lie for you to simply prevent a fight between you and your partner. You are basically attempting to keep your relationship dynamic stuck and it can actually perpetuate the problem. Don’t try to get the counselor to lie that you tried to schedule the appointment earlier and it was the therapists fault to simply save a little heart ache and conflict. If you are afraid of fighting, then stop lying!
3. Expecting the Therapist to take a side: Not gonna happen. No matter how much you feel like your side is right (which it most likely it is) my job as a therapist is not to take sides. Plain and simple. Plus, you probably have enough friends and family taking on that role. If I take sides, then I am simply jumping on board to a dynamic that isn’t working. Nothing will be accomplished and now you two have more amo to your fight… Such as, “The therapist agrees with me…” and now the relationship still stays stuck with no solution.
4. The therapist will make everything better: Nope! The therapist is in the room to help you understand the relationship on a deeper level, help you navigate through the struggles, and create a safe environment. It is YOUR responsibility to work at the relationship. The therapist will do everything in their power to help you as a couple or individual, but if you aren’t willing to do the work…you will be wasting your time (and money).
5. Expect the Therapist to keep a Secret: Secrets keep relationships apart and if it is a big secret, then to expect your therapist to keep in and try to work on your relationship when they know exactly what issue needs to change is unrealistic. If you are doing something that requires you to have it a “secret,” then open your eyes and take a peek at just that!
6. Keeping significant items from the therapist: If you don’t tell the therapist significant events, then the therapist doesn’t have the whole picture of the relationship. Don’t keep affairs, physical fights, or any important events kept hidden. The more the therapists knows, the better. On that same note, ask the counselor about their no-secrets policy. If you don’t want your partner to know something, don’t share it with your therapist.
7. The Fights Slow down, So Client’s stop early: Just because the fights have stopped for now or “things are getting better,” doesn’t mean to stop counseling. Many people stop prematurely and then things go back to the old way. Just because the fights have stopped, doesn’t mean you have a long-term change. If you think you hit the goals in the therapy, speak with your therapist and make sure all the work is done.
Counseling isn’t something to take lightly. Your life is more important than money, time or your ego. Don’t hold back and worry about the “what if’s.” Commit to it. Make this your start to a better you.