Top 7 Things Therapists Want Everyone to Know
When many people picture a therapist, the following picture comes to mind: a stuffy room, a patient lying on a sofa, and a therapist nodding along while writing notes. Does this sound familiar? The truth is that therapy has come a long way since the days of Freud, but misconceptions about the practice remain stubbornly in place.
While behavioral health professionals each have unique ways of practicing and specialties, there are many things they all wish everyone else knew about therapy. Below are the top seven things these professionals want you to know, though there may be many more.
1) Your Counselor is Not Judging You
Perhaps one of the top reasons people avoid therapy is that they don’t want someone to judge them. After all, counselors hear some of your deepest, darkest thoughts. The idea of a stranger hearing those thoughts and thinking ill of you can be overwhelming. If this is what’s keeping you from getting help, you need to know that your therapist is not in this to judge you.
Instead, it’s your counselor’s job to understand you–the opposite of judgment. Even if your counselor gives you ideas on how to react differently to situations in the future, he or she is not silently judging you for what you did in the past.
2) They Won’t “Out” You to Anyone
This fact is so important that therapists often open the first appointment with a patient by covering this. Just like your doctor will not discuss your medical history if they run into you in the grocery store, your therapist is dedicated to keeping your mental health history in your control. Unless you approach him or her first, your counselor will not acknowledge you if you cross paths in public.
3) You May Feel Worse After Your Appointment
When you go to therapy, your hope is probably that you will feel better. If you put in the work, therapy can really help. However, you may feel a little worse after your first appointment. Some people call this a “vulnerability hangover.” Opening up about your emotions can be exhausting, especially if you’re not used to it. So, be sure to schedule some time for relaxation and self-care after your appointment.
4) Therapists Won’t Always Agree with You
Just because your therapist won’t judge you, doesn’t mean he or she will agree with everything you say. Counselors wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they just agreed with everything and turned into yes-men and yes-women. In order to help you move forward, they may challenge your thinking and push you to see things in a different way. Of course, this is always done with respect.
5) You Won’t Shock Them
While every client is unique in important ways, experienced counselors have heard more than you know. No matter what you’re thinking or feeling, there’s a good chance they have helped someone through a similar problem. Don’t be afraid that what you say will hurt or shock your therapist.
6) It’s Truly Not Your Fault
If you went to a doctor for your physical health, you would probably not blame yourself for being there. Similarly, if you’re being seen for a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, it’s not your fault. You are not to blame and there’s nothing wrong with your character.
7) They Really Can Help, As Long As You Work At It
In some respects, therapy is like seeing a personal trainer. The professional can give the client all the direction and advice in the world, but ultimately, it’s up to the client to put in the real work and get results. Furthermore, your therapist is there to make sure you go through the healing process safely, without hurting yourself.
If you’re ready to put in the work and start healing, contact LifeStance Health today. Our experienced, caring counselors can help.