Most, if not all of our trauma occurs in the context of interpersonal relationships. Therefore, healing would naturally occur in the context of a trusting, safe, reliable relationship. The building of this new relationship itself provides a “corrective emotional experience”. A skilled therapist makes it safe for you to talk about those things you have either repressed and “forgotten” about, or are too scared or uncomfortable talking about with people in your life. With the support and guidance of a good therapist, you will come to understand how your past has affected you in the present, you will be able to resolve past traumas that continue to unconsciously play out in your life, and you will feel more content, stable, and generally function far better in all areas of your life.
What are other benefits of therapy?
With the help of a trained professional, you come to understand the core of your struggles and how they are connected with the difficulties in your life, work and relationships. You will develop the tools to cope with and change behavioral patterns that don’t work for you. Because we are largely unconscious beings, and are largely driven by what is unconscious, therapy is about making us more conscious so that we have more control over our lives, feelings and behaviors. We stop making the same mistakes over and over. We choose healthier people and develop a sense of empowerment. Our relationships also become more intimate and satisfying. Psychotherapy produces positive effects in 92% of participants. The longer you stay in therapy, the better the results. People who are active in therapy do better than those that are passive. Those who actively engage by being open, asking questions, and following up do better. For most psychological conditions, people in therapy alone do as well as people who have medication plus therapy. Those who stay in therapy only as long as insurance coverage allows do worse than those who stay until their concerns are resolved.
How will I know you are the right therapist for me?
You will know this very quickly. While there are many skilled therapists out there, you can’t predict “chemistry” and whether the connection will feel right to you. Very soon into your first few sessions you should feel understood, not only with regard to the content of what you are talking about, but on a much deeper level. Your therapist should be able to make connections for you that you had never previously considered and give you some insights that should be helpful. You should have a ‘gut’ feeling, and a sense of relief, when you leave the first session.
You really need to meet a therapist face-to-face in order to get a good idea of what I am like as a person and as a professional. At your first meeting you should keep these questions in mind:
How easy is it to talk to her?
Does she seem like someone I could trust?
Is she really listening to me?
Does she seem to know what he/she is doing?
Does she seem confident and competent?
Do I feel comfortable with her?
Could I ever show this person the deepest, ugliest parts of myself?