Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On therapy...

I've mentioned here before that I fully believe that not everyone *needs* therapy, but that everyone can benefit from it.

Part of my ongoing correspondence with someone about thearpy:

My two cents on therapy - It's totally okay to tell the therapist that you're wary of therapy, and why. I believe it's something that should be put out there.

I'm a big believer in 4 sessions before you make a decision about a therapist, it takes time to develop trust and know whether you're okay with the person. But I also think it's really important to know that therapists are people, and you may not connect with them. Not every therapist works for every person. So, it's important to remember that if it isn't working out for you with one person that doesn't mean it's not going to work, you always have the option of trying someone else. And therapists know this too, so you don't need to be worried about hurting their feelings by switching to someone else.

I know that for me I saw several therapists at different times in my life before I found someone who made a difference for me. My doctor said to me "mainja, you're a very smart woman and you know how to convince people of things that you want them to believe, which is what you've done with other therapists. You need someone as smart as you who will tell you to cut the bullshit and call you out when you're doing your susie sunshine everything is okay routine." I had a very blunt doctor. *grin* So, it was the person that she found for me that finally worked for me. I don't think that would be as much of an issue for me now, because I no longer work so hard to hide my pain when I'm with a therapist, but that's what I needed to have a 'breakthrough'.

The other thing it's important to know is that therapy is hard. You may feel better right away, but you also may start bringing up old stuff that you have buried away and it's going to hurt before it heals. In some ways it's kind of like if a bone that is broken has healed the wrong way, a doctor is going to have to re-break the bone to set it properly, and it's going to hurt while they do that, but after it's been set it can heal properly, then it's going to feel better than it did before it had to be re-set. I say this not to scare you, but because I personally find it much easier to deal with things knowing what may lay ahead.

The last therapy thing - therapy is only about how you react to things. It cannot change external situations, only how you deal with them.

I told you before about how for me therapy helped me react to my dad in a different way, to deal with my interactions in a different way. It didn't change the way he acted towards me, but it changed the way I internalized those things.

There is no way to change those around you, it is only about learning how to accept those actions and change how you react to them. Which of course is why it can be so difficult. It takes time, but it is well worth it. I can't begin to tell you how much better my relationship with dad is now since I have learned to do that.

It's kind of like the serenity prayer used in 12 step programs. It begins with "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." There is a lot of wisdom in those words.

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