By: Sarah Hindle
It’s not unusual for someone accessing psychology services, to wonder what their goes through their therapist’s head.
If that’s you, here are a few insights from a working pyschologist that might put your mind at ease about yourself and what your therapist may be thinking about you.
Most clients who come into therapy find themselves stuck in some way, and the process of exploring uncovers genuine reasons why. Not only is this a reassuring process, but it also offers a different pathway forward. Getting unstuck is a process of addressing these entrenching factors and learning how to do life differently.
Therapists are helpers – they are usually drawn to the profession because they feel called make a real difference to people’s lives. Your therapist is a person too, which means they can draw on their own experiences in order to understand yours. Many therapists bring backgrounds of grief, mental health or neurodiversity to their work, and while they may not talk about it directly with you, they are using these experiences to understand and support you.
While the clinical focus might be on a reduction of fear or anxiety, what happens in the therapy relationship itself could help clarify what is happening outside the therapy room. Your therapist can help you catch and reflect on your reactions and responses to help you make sense of why, and co-create alternatives with you that serve you better.
‘A therapists’ job is to help uncover and offer hope’.
Therapists spend time reviewing your notes, thinking clinically about other explanations, considering the effectiveness of therapy, and speaking to more senior therapists. Your therapist will think about you randomly sometimes, or wake up with an idea for your therapy session. They are constantly aiming to up-skill all aspects of their work. You are important to them for the duration of your therapy with them. It is a real and genuine relationship, and you deserve to be held in high regard.
The work of therapy can feel like emotional labour. It’s important to understand that there can be a level of discomfort involved with looking at patterns, relationships, and emotions. It’s best to go in with the expectation that insight-oriented work is necessary to understand a problem and a necessary first-step to applying strategies. While your therapist is there to guide you, the change will need to take place with you, and as such, taking an active role in the process will set you up for great outcomes.
The work of therapy really does sit within a broader framework of holding out hope. Sometimes therapy is like a borrowing system – your therapist will keep loaning you hope until such times as you can find and create your own. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to partner with clients to create change, to see symptoms loosen, or to assist a client to lighten their load and build hope for their future.
Article supplied with thanks to The Centre for Effective Living.
Feature image: Photo by Kateryna Hliznitsova on Unsplash