I am a big fan of welldoing.org, an “independent psychotherapist and counsellor directory and information resource for people who want to enhance their health and wellbeing“. I wish I had known about them when I was first looking to start therapy and had no idea what the (sometimes subtle) differences were between the numerous different types of therapy. I wish I had known about them in the early months when the process of open-ended psychoanalytic therapy made little sense and was not quite what I had expected. However, better late than never, as they say! I am now a follower and regular reader and gain a great deal from the varied and interesting articles by therapists from different ‘traditions’ as well as by clients facing particular difficulties or dilemmas. I was fortunate enough to have received referrals to three potential therapists (of which my current therapist is one) from my ex-therapist, just before we finished our sessions together. However, for those who have made the difficult decision to enter therapy but do not know how to find a therapist or what type of therapist they should be looking for, welldoing.org can get you started by matching you with someone, based on a short questionnaire.
This week, I wanted to share the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of an excellent article on welldoing.org by therapist Joshua Miles, called ‘How to get the most out of therapy‘. These are easily amongst my favourite posts on the site; they are helpful now, and I know that they would have been even more so had I come across them in the early stages of my therapy. I think that there are numerous misconceptions about therapy ‘out there’ amongst those who have never taken part in the process; as well as simply a lack of information about what it is really like, and about how ‘change happens’. As Joshua Miles points out, it is not always about giant discoveries. As he also points out, the process is not simple or easy, and although the benefits are enormous and the process can be beautiful and fulfilling, it can also involve “a great deal of upheaval and change”. I have been in therapy for three years now, and try as I might to address his misconceptions, my husband still tends to think of my therapy evening as a ‘night out’ and is surprised when I don’t always come home feeling better and happier!
Joshua Miles’s excellent post covers some key components of therapy which, if understood and taken on board, can really help clients to ‘get the most out of therapy’. In Part 1 he addresses the vital area of trust: in our therapist, in the therapeutic process, and in ourselves; and he also talks about the importance of prioritising therapy, and of using the time between sessions to ‘process’ the material. In Part 2 he discusses another vital area and what some might say is the key agent of change in therapy – the therapeutic relationship. He also talks more broadly about the importance of communication, and being as open and honest as possible.
I can highly recommend both parts of this article for anyone looking for an excellent summary of the key components of the process of therapy, and how to get the most out of it. I think it is helpful not just for clients (particularly in the first few months), but also for those (such as my husband!) who are not in therapy but who may be interested in finding out more, or in supporting someone who has taken the courageous and important step to commit to this difficult but exhilarating journey…..