The process of therapy is sometimes perceived as a difficult process that should not be encountered. It is a place that may: bring up difficulties; lead us to be blamed for our problems; identify what’s wrong with me and all-around, not that helpful.
However, this perception of therapy is inaccurate. If done well with a therapist that matches you, therapy can be a place where we have growth, enlightenment, and learning. Although the process may bring about some difficulties in the form of talking about hard topics and being encouraged to take risks, if the process is taken at your pace, these difficulties are dealt with at a slow and comfortable pace for you.
Another helpful way to perceive therapy is to view it as a class and/or refresher course. Participation in therapeutic conversations may lead to (not limited to this list alone): educating oneself on human processes and the human experience; gaining perspectives on other experiences, and; learning about the impacts of decisions we may make. Moreover, therapy can be a place to remind us of: Our own personal value systems; our past identities and experiences; and past effective life lessons we have encountered, but may have fallen off in maintaining. The life journey entails many ups-and-downs and we all need a cheerleader to help us through all of it. A therapeutic relationship may be one relationship in our life that helps us overcome the greatest of challenges and/or spark a new way of living that brings about many positive changes in our life.
If you decide to take the step to seek out therapeutic assistance and support, here are some tips to find a therapist for you. The ideal therapist will:
Be patient: Try to get a full picture-understanding of what you are experiencing before moving towards ‘solutions’ and ‘tips.’
Want to know about YOU: Be understanding of YOUR experiences and receptive to learning more from you about how you have experienced life (with consideration of personal characteristics including age, gender, race, sexual identity, etc.)
Not avoid difficulty: Be able to ask difficult questions and talk about hard topics in a safe, respectful and compassionate manner.
Be attuned to you: Be attentive and attuned to your experience in sessions and will seek your feedback on the progress and experience of sessions
Validate, encourage and challenge you: Be able to gain some understanding of what has brought you to where you are, connect with your experience and encourage you to take new steps in your life.
Another resource I would like to share with you is a podcast that I recently spoke on called The Soul’s Work Podcast with Janice Ho. In the episode where I spoke, we discussed healing in relationships, the therapy process and identified some reasons we may choose to seek out counselling support. You will find a link to the episode here:
Throughout her whole podcast series (https://www.thesoulsworkpodcast.com/), she shares her own internal work and her experiences with therapy. Topics she explores include trauma, resilience, therapy, substance use, and relationships (to name a few). You will find her podcast helpful to further help you in your process of exploring and understanding the therapeutic process and finding the right therapist for you.
A few suggestions I offer you in your search for a matching therapist, in hopes of having a helpful and productive time in therapy:
Interview your therapist: Don’t be afraid to ‘interview’ your prospective therapist – the initial meeting is your time to assess fit-match, and to determine whether you would like to invest some time with this person.
Constantly assess progress: If you have decided on a therapist, be attentive and aware of your process with the therapist and identify any challenges/fractures that you may experience in your interactions with the therapist. By expressing your thoughts-concerns, you provide yourself with an opportunity to develop relationship mending skills with a person that has a focus on helping you in areas like this. Moreover, your expression of concerns can help the therapist revise their methods to ensure the process is helpful to you.
Be open, curious and exploratory: The therapeutic relationship is meant to provide a safe space for you to explore new ideas, get an understanding of your own experiences and develop new skills. Built-in place is a process where your health and wellness is the prime focus of the therapist.
If you are interested in taking some steps towards participating in therapy sessions, feel free to reach out to Chris at Ride the Waves Counselling Service – 647-456-7751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.