Change is hard
There’s no way around it. So when you decide to begin psychotherapy and make changes, there are some important questions to ask.
What does a therapist do to help you make changes? How do you choose a therapist, or type of psychotherapy, best suited for change? What do you contribute? And, what is it that can make changes happen?
There are three essential ingredients for change: willingness to make changes, a therapist who understands what you don’t understand – and time.
May seem simple. There are things you want that you don’t have and ways you feel that you don’t like. Why wouldn’t you want to make changes?
The problem is – sometimes it seems less risky to keep things as they are. Especially if you’ve had deep disappointments and people who have failed you in the past.
You probably expect more of the same. Anyway, you’ve learned to rely on yourself. Maybe it seems “wiser” to run in the other direction, using familiar methods to manage your feelings – busyness, sleep, numbness, cutting, sex, drugs, alcohol, food or even starvation; to name a few.
But, if you decide to make changes, these are things to look for and expect:
Who listens closely. Keeps what you say in mind. Creates a safe place for your feelings. Understands, with compassion, your fears and whatever feelings you bring.
A therapist who thinks things over with you. Is open to your thoughts, even your disagreements. And, offers ideas about you that seem right and new.
A therapist who pays attention to the details of your problems, and talks to you with sensitivity and directness.
And, because change isn’t easy, a therapist who helps you through the initial difficulties of opening up and trying to make changes you want to make.
Takes time. Problems develop over many years. Generally, they begin early in life with experiences, losses, and/or betrayals that are painful, frequently misconstrued, and harmful to your view of yourself.
In therapy, change comes from talking things out. Giving yourself the chance for awareness you didn’t have before: of ways you’ve had to manage your feelings, what you’re afraid of, and how your thinking has been co-opted by false assumptions.
To make changes and to form new experiences of yourself and others takes time, courage, and help you can grow to trust.