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…..
April 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm
Your essays often do a great service to those who wish to find more fulfillment in their lives. They are an act of kindness. With respect to persuading “therapy-spectators” of what therapy is and what value it has, I’m reminded of the old joke counselors tell: “How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to want to be changed!”
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April 14, 2016 at 8:44 pm
Thank you so much – that is an AWESOME compliment and one of loveliest things anyone has ever said to me I think! I think partly your words are so moving because I dare not think of myself as kind – I tend to always ascribe the most negative motives to myself, and so always look for a possible self-motivated explanation ‘behind’ any apparently kind or thoughtful action…so thank you for those words, and as you saw, I made good use of them 😉 (and I love the joke, though should it not be ‘but the light bulb has to want to change? 😉 )
April 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm
You are welcome. As to the language, edit it if you wish. As written, it was what I intended to say.
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April 14, 2016 at 10:02 pm
Ok! I was just making a cheeky comment on the possible implication that one is ‘changed’ (by another) rather than by oneself…though I now realise that that is me interpreting the phrase ‘to be changed’ in way that could be a ‘Freudian slip’ of sorts on my part, and interesting to reflect on! Thinking about it now, ‘to be changed’ does not necessarily imply imply the action of an agent upon another – one can be changed through circumstance or self reflection. But it probably says something about me (and possibly about how I sometimes think about therapy ), that the ‘natural’ reading for me, was to do with one person changing another……
April 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm
I think I am in severe danger of over thinking a joke !!
April 14, 2016 at 10:15 pm
If that is the worse danger you ever face, then you will be a lucky soul, indeed!
March 5, 2017 at 10:07 am
Thanks for sharing these articles. 🙂
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