“I could probably do with speaking to someone about stuff, but there’s no way I’m going to.” I hear this a lot (especially when I meet new people and introductions inevitably move towards ‘what we do for a living’).
Because of my job, I am immersed in the terminology, different approaches, theories and practices of counselling and psychotherapy. I know and understand them in a different way, perhaps, to those not living/working in this field. As a counsellor, I’m super interested in what people think therapy is. I’m curious about how these opinions are formed and any barriers that might be present, potentially preventing people from accessing support that might be useful (dare I say, life changing).
There are so many pre-conceived ideas about therapy. Maybe friends have told you what theirs was like. Maybe you’ve watched movies, TV series, or heard accounts on podcasts and social media about therapeutic interventions. We form opinions and ideas around things we have seen, heard and witnessed. That’s natural. But, what about when these ideas feel so impactive that it stops you before you’ve even started? What about if you think that………….
Your therapist will make you go through really distressing memories.
They will make you examine your childhood.
They will make you talk about stuff you don’t want to.
They will make you feel worse than you already do.
The notion of a therapist ‘making anyone’ do anything at all, gives rise to a cold sensation right in the pit of my stomach, that permeates out throughout my body. Therapy, for me, is not about making you do anything. It’s about meeting you where you are, walking alongside you, sensing and discovering your comfort zones and navigating your edges.
YOU decide where to go. You decide what you are comfortable with. You decide the pace. You decide the direction. You have agency and choice. This is your process – you get to have the loudest voice in that.
Guidance, support, psychological education, compassion and commitment from your therapist? Absolutely. Forcing, pushing, controlling, ‘making you’ do things, is not where it’s at.
Please know, your therapist is there with you, not against you. We really care; you matter to us a lot.