You would think that if you made the effort to call and make an appointment with a therapist, then you wouldn’t be resistant to therapy, but you’d be surprised how many people walk into therapy already sabotaging themselves.
Here are 5 reasons why therapy won’t work for you:
1. If you think your therapist has a magic wand.
I mean … I do have a magic wand, but it’s for children and for pretend play. I’ll let you hold my magic wand if it makes you feel better, but it really has no power. I can’t make you feel better over night, I can’t make your life perfect, and I can’t make other people change for you.
The real magic is when you realize the only thing you can change is yourself. There is no magic, only good insights leading to good decisions and choices that then lead to a good life.
If you think your therapist is wielding her magic wand, therapy won’t work for you.
2. If you think your therapist’s job is to give you advice.
I find it humorous when people tell me they want to be a therapist when they grow up because they like giving advice. Giving advice couldn’t be further from the job of your therapist.
Your therapist’s job is to listen to you. Listen to you in a way that nobody normally listens to you.
We are listening to what you say, but we are also listening to what you don’t say. We are paying attention to your body language, the way your eyes move and focus, and your breathing. We are paying close attention to you, not because we’re some sort of creepers or weirdos, but because we want to give you feedback.
We are your mirror.
We will give you honest and compassionate feedback about what you really want. We hear what you’re saying even when you don’t. We will guide you, encourage you, support you, meet you wherever you are in life, and yes … we sometimes give advice, but only occasionally and usually only when you ask us.
We don’t know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. You know yourself and your life best.
Therapy won’t work for you if you think it’s our job to give you advice.
3. If you already know everything.
I’m talking to the “know-it-alls.” The “I’ve got Google at my fingertips, and I’ve already tried everything and nothing works, so what you have to say won’t work, either”.
I find it hard to work with people like this. I realize they are beautiful in their own way. They are strong, smart, and wonderful people, but they are the worst kind of client. They aren’t teachable. Like I said above, I’m not here to give you advice, but we do have to work together.
I’m your partner on this journey.
Let your therapist walk beside you by allowing her to reflect what you’ve said, brainstorm solutions, process feelings, and identify thinking that’s not helpful to you … without you hitting her over the head with, ”I’ve already tried everything, and nothing works, and life sucks, and nobody can make it better.”
If you’re not willing to open your heart to at least try to be teachable, therapy won’t work for you.
4. If you blame everyone else for your unhappiness and problems.
This is a hard lesson for all of us. I had to learn this lesson myself. I actually had a 9-year-old tell me we can’t blame our problems on other people … we have to take responsibility for them ourselves.
I was pleasantly shocked!
I know 80-year-olds who never got this concept. The problem with blaming other people for how you feel or the problems in your life, is that it’s your life, not theirs. You are the only one who can do anything to make it better.
If you blame others, you give away your own power to make good choices for yourself.
If you are sick of the way you and your spouse argue, you choose to walk away.
If you are tired of the way a co-worker puts you down, you stand up for yourself.
If you are unhappy with your kids, you do something to work on improving the relationship.
We have a saying hanging outside my office that says, “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” We all know our childhoods affect us, but they don’t define us. They don’t make our adult choices for us.
Stop blaming and starting accepting that we can’t change the past or others. We can work through our painful childhoods, set boundaries with an unpleasant co-worker, heal from trauma, abuse, and loss, recover from depression and addiction, walk away from an angry spouse, and spend more time nurturing our relationships with our children.
If you blame everyone else for your unhappiness and problems, then therapy won’t work for you.
5. If you’re not willing to do the work to change.
Change is hard. Change is a process. We all know most people don’t like change. We like things to be the same. We like the familiar. We like the easy path, the one paved for us.
We have a saying hanging in our waiting room by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.” It is the first thing you see when you walk into our office. It’s hung there purposefully. It is the very foundation and mission of our practice. Its purpose it to remind each person as they walk in our office, that choice is inevitable.
We all have to make choices in our lives.
Sometimes those choices lead us down paths of self-destruction and chaos, but we can choose a different road. We can choose the road not taken. If you’re not willing to do the work to change and make good choices, then therapy won’t work for you.
I hope each of our clients and potential clients know how much we care about them and that we are willing to walk this hard road with them toward healing, recovery, and growth. We are “for you,” will advocate for you, and meet you wherever you’re at in life non-judgmentally and with compassion.
Therapy will work for you if you are willing to let go of the things mentioned above. We look forward to working with you soon. Let’s get started!
Jessica Nemecz has been volunteering and working with children, adults, marriages, and families since 1998. She provides cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapy and utilizes a holistic approach to work towards a healthy balanced life and complete recovery. Contact Jessica today at firstname.lastname@example.org