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How Good Therapy Works

therapist and patientI went to therapy today. I saw Gail, my therapist. I sat on her love seat with the pillow propped right in the corner where I like it. My purse sat beside me, an unknowing witness to all my secrets.

I had so much to tell her. I knew where the next stop of this road map that is my life will become. I talked to her about the fact that I just DID NOT UNDERSTAND my ex, and, from what I explained – she didn’t understand either.

So here is how therapy, (in my opinion)  good therapy, works: You talk. You share. You lean forward in your seat, then throw your head back with eyes shut massaging your temples. It is hard. She and God are the ones who carry the weight that is my life.

I forget about being “on” and “happy” and everything that people want me to be. I have only cried on one occasion and that was a couple of days after my boyfriend dumped me. You must understand that I rarely cry, especially in front of someone else, so to break down in front of her was heartbreaking.

But here is what makes it “good” therapy – she offers insight and suggestions. She questions me. She guides me. She has been in the business of head shrinking for over 40 years. I trust her. She knows her stuff and I have grown emotionally stronger because of her.

Today she said, “If this was 6 months ago, would you believe you are handling it (the break-up) as well as you are?” She had a point. 6 months ago I thought I would literally die or be carted off to some psych ward because of such a devastating blow…but here I am, typing this at my laptop with my dogs around me. I’m sad and hurt and angry and disappointed, but I am okay.  And I think she, and the opportunity to talk openly about my feelings to a wise soul, has made all the difference in the world.

So. If you are trying cognitive behavioral therapy, find someone who not only listens, but talks. Find someone who genuinely cares – at least for your 45 minute session, someone who remembers your friends’ names and  your birthday and your trip to North Carolina.

Therapy is about honesty and vulnerability. Go there. Open up. Say all the things you’ve been thinking. A good therapist won’t judge, they will guide.


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How Good Therapy Works

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2015). How Good Therapy Works. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 30 Apr 2015
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