What No One Tells You About Therapy
Do you have that one thing in your life where you’re so heavily immersed in its culture that you kind of forget about most of the real world? It’s usually with our jobs or where we spend the most time. Like, I notice my friends in the fitness industry forget that the rest us of eat carbohydrates and sugar. Daily.
My “thing” is definitely therapy. I’m “in so deep” I often forget that the majority of the world isn’t really into it. In fact, when I take a step back I’m consistently surprised by the reaction of shame, embarrassment, pride and secrecy that I receive. I hear that therapy is scary or for the really mentally ill. I wish I could start a county-wide campaign to end the stigma, but then it would be me against the world and that’s no fun. Instead, I thought I would share some of the insides of my counseling practice in Newport Beach as well as my personal journey in therapy. Here are some things you may not know:
- There’s a lot of laughter in session. I have a current client who is falling in love. She approached me with the worry that there is nothing sad for her to talk about. After resolving this false assumption it has been so fun to be with her in one of the most wonder-filled and exciting times in her life. We get to talk about fantasies, redemption and new experiences. We also get to talk about triggers and fears. She leads the way.
- Therapists (the good ones) are really normal people. Trust me, I really am not judging you. I’m just like you. I have chipped nails and dry skin, good and bad weeks, a ton of past hurts and mistakes and probably ten times more embarrassing moments then you. I bring my stuff to the table when I believe it can help. And the things I don’t disclose are always with your best interest at the top of mind. So, you are more than welcome to tell me when I have lunch food in my teeth (no help from my afternoon clients yesterday!).
- You can come and go as you please. As a long-term client myself, I have had to take massive breaks in my therapy work. Sometimes, it’s more fun to spend my 4pm on Friday doing something (anything) else. My therapist gets it. And his understanding gives me permission to come back when I’m ready. Don’t be afraid to tell your therapist when you want to leave and why! We are people too; so dropping off the map feels confusing just as it would for most others.
- You are not talking to a “blank slate”. Well, you might be depending on the therapist. But most well-trained therapists integrate relational work, meaning we use our presence in the room to draw out your own needs with communication, intimacy, boundaries and emotional connection. One client recently wrote me a note sharing, “I love your dry humor, your quick wit, sarcasm, silly faces, intelligence and compassion with me. I feel like I know all about you even though I may not”. Not every therapist is going to get that same note, though the commitment to help should be one and the same.
- We think about you after session. Well, I do anyway. I have a limited number on my caseload so I have time to invest in training, reading and consultation. I actually care a ton about my clients as people so when I read a quote or hear a TED talk or even feel a certain feeling, you are in my mind and heart. I feel blessed to be in a relationship with you even though we may only have 1-2 hours a week together.
What do you think about these tidbits on therapy? If you’re up for some healing, some laughter, a little bit of humor and a little bit of care I invite you to contact me.