My Thoughts on Therapy and Therapists
When people are looking for help they then have to go through the process of finding the right therapist for them. It’s not always an easy task.
Some people have already had some form of therapy and depending on how well it worked they may well go back to that therapist or look for somebody doing something similar.
Sometimes it’s about the connection they had with that therapist, because that connection is crucial to outcome. Being nice doesn’t mean effective, equally not being nice doesn’t mean effective. Do you believe that the person you are working with can help you and that their focus is on the outcome whilst offering respect and professionalism. That doesn’t mean that the work won’t be challenging – current beliefs need to be challenged as they’re not working.
Every therapist will offer what they believe to be the most helpful and effective way for you to change. Most therapists have gained a number of different approaches over the years and integrate them to offer a flexible and bespoke approach (hence why I use the term integrative therapy). Some may be more fixed on a particular way of working, such as hypnotherapy, CBT or EFT. Not better, not worse, just different. They are tools and tools are chosen for what they can be used for. More tools doesn’t mean more effective – the therapist has to know how to use them effectively – but knowing what might be useful in a particular situation can be beneficial.
I will be the right therapist for somebody at that particular time, or not. I may start a process that somebody else needs to continue after I’ve done what I can, or I may be picking up from somebody else who did what they could at an earlier time. I play my part to the best of my abilities, which I aim to improve constantly.
Therapy is about many things – connection, listening, interrupting, challenging, holding, pushing, exploring and discovering. There are areas we want to talk about and areas we don’t want to talk about – I want to help you to go through them all. Sometimes there is shame, and areas that we feel uncomfortable about, even though they’re important to discuss. Knowing that we can with this person is important. We need to bring light to the situation and shame loves the dark.
When I want to explore and address issues I have I often look for those therapists who work in a different way than I am used to, that I may not be as comfortable with as with others. Why? I need to be surprised and to be challenged. I don’t want my beliefs reinforced, my model of the world left as it is – how will I discover the new otherwise, or the helpful? I may not agree with it, but I’d like to find out about what it is I don’t know.
I know, for example, that we only react to things that we care about. Knowing that I can explore what you react to in a conversational way, in a way that is ‘provoking’ you to discover what it is that you truly care about and what you don’t. This is very useful for us both.
Or perhaps your language reveals how you’re experiencing your problem. We use metaphor all the time and when you think of situations that aren’t helpful, or relationships that don’t serve you then you may opt for an appropriate one.
“I’m walking on eggshells all the time”
“I feel on edge a lot of the time”
“I feel stuck. I want to move forward but I’m holding myself back”
“I’m going round in circles”
And so on.
These best describe our current experience. They can be explored, we can discover what’s going on and find movement within them where there is none. Often our problems are about feeling that we’re not able to make progress in our life (and that is movement).
I don’t immediately look for the why. I look for the how. How are you maintaining the problem? If we change that then you can’t continue to ‘do’ your problem, no matter why you believed what you believed.
There is also the process of education (psycho-education) which allows you to be able to understand so that you can evaluate future experiences more helpfully, gaining context and understanding.
I don’t have any secrets. There are no secrets. There’s work to be done. There’s exploration and discovery. I don’t know more than you, but I do know how to get you to challenge your own thinking. I don’t have the answers. Nobody knows you better than you do. I point stuff out that’s helpful to point out. What you choose to do about it is up to you.
I don’t fix people (it assumes that people are broken somehow). I don’t tell you what to do (I’m sure you’ve had enough of that through the years). I don’t give advice unless it’s designed to challenge you in some way.
I record all my sessions and I send you the recordings in full. Everything you said, everything I said. Listening back to the sessions allows you to discover for yourself what’s helpful and what’s not and allows you to start to choose what you want to do about it. It’s not what most therapists do. It’s very helpful and is often the difference that makes the difference. You can decide for yourself whether what you say and what you’re thinking and how you responded in the moment serve you or merely reflect the issue and more besides.
I have helped people deal improve their relationships – to themselves and to others. I have helped men and women shift their thinking about food and eating. I have helped people in their business, in their ability to express themselves openly and honestly. I have helped people gain clarity about their situation so that they can decide what they want to do about it. I help people to discover how to get their needs met.
Our problems always find ways to show themselves – by doing something unhelpful or simply not doing something. Not posting on social media because of what others may think, or not doing something for ourselves for the same reason.
Saying yes to those things that we would rather say no to. Saying no to those things that we’d rather say yes to. Accepting what we don’t want to accept.
So often our problems are actually our solutions to the real issue. Alcohol becomes the issue, but we were using alcohol to deal with something else, something more fundamental. Same with food or eating.
I don’t know what you’re experiencing, what you’re going through, but you’re here reading this for a reason. In which case let’s have a chat.