If you were in my office, it might be like sitting in a room in your home — a few comfortable chairs, an area rug, an end table, a desk and a bookcase.
Psychotherapy, much like life, can be similar — sometimes described as “magical” with a series of “aha” moments and deep insights. For those of you who have sought therapy, you know exactly what I am talking about.
For those who haven’t, this is geared more toward you — to help illustrate what to expect and how to make the most out of the therapy process.
Individuals are different; likewise what brings them into therapy is just as unique. It often begins with a moment of self-reflection. Some may be in a midst of a crisis, and for others, simply seeking an objective opinion for a specific problem.
Although ones’ problems are varied, a common factor remains the same — the importance of being open to the “process” of therapy. Below are a few basic principles to keep in mind as one begins psychotherapy:
• Hope, desire to change, and/or the expectation that change can happen is important. Although there are no guarantees as to the result of therapy, and sometimes you may even feel “worse” before you feel “better,” just being aware that you are “stuck” is enough to take the first step.
• Awareness and insight are important for behavioral change. Therapy will require you to be more introspective. Often this will require more emotional and mental energy on your part, but can result in substantial benefits in the long run.
• Practicing new behaviors can help promote change in other behaviors. You may notice a positive “domino effect” in your life and your relationships.
• The therapeutic relationship between you and your therapist is fundamental for therapy to occur. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your therapist — that you can be open and honest, clearly addressing what “blocks” you are having.
• Finally, the client, not the therapist, is ultimately responsible for change. The therapist is there to support, educate and listen. You are the primary navigator of change.
I wish you all the best on your journey.
• Kavita Acharya Hatten, MS, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor with a private practice in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (480) 598-9540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.