Therapy can be complicated for both client and therapist. It’s difficult to determine when you should leave or how long you should stay. This week I discussed 15 ways to make therapy worth your energy. Read the rest of this article on my sister-site: PsychCentral.com.
- Leave if you have to: You are not obligated to stay with your therapist or begin therapy with someone you are uncomfortable with. The same goes for any other aspect of healthcare. You have the freedom to choose who you would prefer to do business with. You should be comfortable, not feel intimidated, ignored, or uncared for.
- Report the therapist if you absolutely need to: As a therapist myself, I hate to see other therapists being reported or experiencing challenges with clients. But there are times when some therapists perform at substandard levels and you should have the right (and you do) to report them. Don’t let a therapist yell at you, threaten you, or undermine you. Some therapists also struggle with appropriate boundaries. Know when you are being violated and report it.
- Change genders or cultures: It’s a fact that some teenagers benefit from speaking with a specific gender in therapy. For boys, primarily boys who are struggling with legal issues or juvenile delinquency, having a male who can relate to them is very beneficial. A female therapist for a young man who is in legal trouble, could make the male client feel like he is speaking with his older sister, aunt, or mother. The dynamics between a young male and his male therapist are different. Nothing can change this dynamic. The same is true for a mother with 3 kids who has just recently been divorced and is facing foreclosure. A young 25 year old female therapist may not be able to relate to this 40 year old woman with 3 kids and a recent divorce. Know when to change paths. Know when it’s time to say goodbye to your therapist or pursue another therapist who is more able to relate to you. This is especially true with culture. A 20 year old hispanic man who was raised in poverty may have trouble relating to a Caucasian man who was raised by a middle class family.
- Change geographical locations: Believe it or not, some therapists cater to a specific audience in regards to class and socio-economic status. For example, I tend to cater to lower to middle class families who are receiving medical assistance or has modest private insurance. I do not see families who can pay for therapy out of pocket. I also tend to work with specific cultures more so than others. If you are struggling with the location of your therapists office, change locations. Perhaps it’s difficult to get to your therapist or you simply feel judged when waiting in the waiting room side by side someone who looks like they have the perfect life. As shallow as this might seem to many of us, some clients struggle with this.
- Educate yourself: Sometimes the only way to develop an understanding of therapy is to research it. Educate yourself to the topics often discussed in therapy and do a simple Google Search on therapists. You can also learn about the job duties of a therapist and research techniques that your own therapist may be using with you in therapy. Sometimes if you are educated to what is happening to you in therapy, you are better able to reap the rewards. You are also more able to determine if the type of therapy you are receiving is appropriate for you and this time in your life.
As always, I wish you well