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How to know if you are doing therapy right?

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

I hear this question regularly. It generally occurs along the vein of "am I making enough change?" or "is this happening quick enough?" or "how long should this take?"

These are all very legitimate questions that should definitely be asked! However, be prepared for an answer that may not be as helpful as you had hoped because the bottom line is, Psychologists may not know the answer.

I have attempted to write this post a few times and to be honest I get to this point and think, what more is there to write? The answer is that I don't know how to do therapy right. I don't know what it looks like to succeed at therapy, so how can I answer the question accurately?

I realise though, that I am struggling with this because every single client and individual is different. Therapy for many people is not even my experiences of therapy. It may be looking for spiritual guidance or searching for some other meaning, purpose, or happiness in life. However that is achieved, that is the right way to do therapy. Attending therapy isn't a case of giving the psychologist a, b and c information and they put it into a formula to spit out an answer. It's not about giving me all of your information in the first session or two and we then get into practicing the solution.

If that is not how it works though, then what is it all about? Well, it's similar to that but with a different timeline. With the above example, the time it takes to give the information is extremely short and the solution process is very long. In reality though, giving me the information IS the process of acting on the solution. The purpose of therapy is to begin feeling and processing your emotions, past experiences, and your world, whilst trusting that I will respect these things, support you, and see you in a positive light unconditionally. This is why therapy is so difficult. Giving someone your most vulnerable and trusting they will not hurt you, is the true test of trust. I take that trust seriously, so much that I have no words to explain the appreciation I have for my clients.

So when you think "am I doing therapy right?", remind yourself that making the effort to open up in anyway and trust another person with all sides of you, including the strengths and weaknesses, the resilience and vulnerabilities, THAT is doing therapy right no matter how long it takes to feel better.

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