Between family life, having children, working or finding a career, and balancing friendships, most people find themselves needing help with their problems at some point in life. I have had many encounters with clients eager to get to the root of their problems and progress very quickly. They come into my office with the expectation that at the end of the session, all of their answers will be there and the problem will be solved. But it doesn’t usually work that way. There are a few other common issues that come up for a newbie client that you will want to avoid.
So here are the 5 BIGGEST MISTAKES you can make starting with a new therapist:
- Believing that within the first session or two you will be cured, corrected, or fixed. Reality is that it takes about 3 sessions for your therapist to fully get what’s going on with you. They may have a strong sense about the issues, they may have useful homework activities or other assignments for you to do between sessions, but most therapists would agree that it takes a few sessions to begin to really get what’s going on. And depending on the issue or you, it may take substantially longer. Remember that’s just for them to get it. After that comes creating the plan on tackling it with you and helping you utilize your plan. After all that you generally see results.
- Thinking that your therapist knows what you’re thinking without you saying anything. If you want the work to be done (your problem to be solved), then you have to express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the problem. Don’t assume that your new therapist, or even your old therapist, if you have been working together for some time, knows what you’re thinking and feeling. Sure there will be times your hesitant pause holds clear meaning to each of you. But that’s usually after working together for a while and that can also be misconstrued. That brings us to the next mistake to avoid.
- Not speaking up to collaborate and co-create your therapy plan. Why is this a bad thing and why shouldn’t you want your therapist to come up with a plan without your input? Because only you are you. Your individual plan will involve details about you, your life, beliefs, strengths and limits that are only yours. There isn’t a cookie cutter approach to therapy, even when using a specific therapeutic technique. The details matter and co-creating a plan with you that works for you is the best way to make sure the goals and steps fit you and are things you can and will actually do. That’s how we make progress.
- Comparing your progress to a friends or spouses. Don’t expect your results to mimic anyone elses results. It can take you longer to heal from something painful than it took your sister. You are different people and have had a lifetime of different experiences. This is okay. Comparing your results will most likely lead to frustration.
- Only expecting things to get easier. Sometimes when you start therapy, you are diving into something that you haven’t before. There may be feelings about it you haven’t uncovered or expressed. If they are difficult, you might struggle a bit before you begin to feel better.
If you’re currently looking for a therapist, contact me, Amira, at amiracrawfordtherapist.com or 347-687-7417.