Archives for Communication
Is therapy not working for you? Do you feel disappointed in how your therapist and you interact? Do you not seem to be getting to the root of your problems? Do you feel that something is missing? Sometimes in these cases, patients don't know what to do except let therapy drag on until they find a new therapist. Or, they let the feelings of dissatisfaction build up until they reach the point of total frustration and then suddenly quit. Either right away or after a time, they search for someone new. Is there anything you can do to stop this vicious cycle and get the help you want? If you are dissatisfied, you might consider discussing with your therapist the problems with how therapy is going. Tell your therapist why you aren’t happy with therapy or with him (or her). Your genuine feelings should be validated. Your therapist should not be defensive. Give your therapist the chance to correct issues that are alienating you. (Sometimes, your therapist might offer an explanation of why certain processes are in your best interest. Try and stay open to this. You can always discuss anything questionable with a friend, mentor or another therapist.) Remember, you can be your own best advocate.* Preventative Measures One of the best ways to thwart problems is
It's all about feelings. When a person struggles with a sense of self and they aren't sure who they are, they aren't sure how to experience, live with, or manage their thoughts and feeling. Feelings especially can become baffling, annoying or painful. In many years working in both mental health and addiction, I've found that in general, people try drugs or alcohol, and end up abusing them, because they want to change, forget or control a feeling or feelings. Changing a feeling can be as simple as
*Let's begin answering this essential question: What is therapy, really? By definition, psychotherapy is “The treatment of mental or emotional problems by the use of techniques that are tailored to the unique problems and backgrounds of the individual and that may include talk therapy, behavioral modification, medication, and other treatments.” The goal of psychotherapy is to help resolve an individual’s mental and emotional problems and, at the same time, teach that individual how to attain the skills needed to deal with life on life’s terms. Therapy is also an inner journey with the therapist as guide. With a good therapist assisting you, your emotions (what you feel) begin to get in sync with your intellect (what you know). When your head leads and your heart follows, the world becomes an easier, more meaningful place in which to live. Therapy is not about
How do you deal with the difficult people in your life? People for whom you seem to walk on eggshells, trying to avoid unwittingly provoking their anger. People who must be in control of every personal exchange so their superiority shows. People who try and control you with insults or put downs. People who try to emotionally manipulate you. People you can never please. People who are caught in a spiral of negativity. People who lie.
Where do we learn our beliefs? How do we get educated in them? Some, like the Amish, teach their beliefs in a multi-pronged system, which includes learning, praying, physical work, family, home and community duties. Others seem to absorb their beliefs through a kind of osmosis, and are barely conscious of how their beliefs are being shaped, if at all.
A therapist I supervise came to me with a case: F. struggles with relationships and socializing. The sensory processing and cognitive issues she's struggled with since childhood cause her to misunderstand or miss social cues. Therefore, her responses to people's words, gestures, or tone of voice often were often wildly inappropriate and misfire. One of the biggest issues for her used to be her inability to read when someone was belittling or bullying her. Her social awkwardness made her an easy target. With the guidance of her counselor as well as support in developing a healthy response to bullying, she began to be able to assert herself and even stand up for herself, too. She learned about healthy boundaries and in cases where she used to get overly involved in other people's lives, especially people who were using and/or abusing her, she began to be able to recognize
Your thoughts and feelings are not, as some suggest, your interface with reality. They are your reality. That's why understanding that you can change your thoughts and feelings is so important, because once you believe you can change them, you give yourself the freedom to do so. Gaining mastery over your thoughts and feelings changes your life. Of course, this is easier said than done.
It’s safe to say one of the main goals of therapy is to teach you how to help yourself so you don’t actually have to be in therapy, at least not for a moment longer than necessary. If you don't have a diagnosis which requires ongoing therapy, then ask yourself: