Does Therapy Really Work?
Many people are suspicious of counselling and therapy because they believe that you find out things about yourself but that this does not really change you. If anything, they think, it can make things worse because it brings your attention to what is wrong.
So, how do you change or is it just a con trick?
Firstly, I have to tell you that it won’t work if you don’t do your part. It’s not like taking a tablet and then everything is OK. You have to want to change and have the courage to think about yourself. At times that is hard, very hard.
Supposing you have the courage, then what? I shall try to explain at least some of what can take place.
There are two main types of help for people who have different sorts of needs. The easiest and quickest to help are those who have a basically good life but something has gone wrong, like loosing a partner. In this case what they need most is the have the help and support to think though what life will be like now and how to cope with that. Also, they need to allow their emotions to adjust to what has changed.
The second type are those who have real, long term, emotional problems like depression, anxiety, fear of intimacy to mention just a few. This is harder and takes longer as they have to ‘rebuild’ a part of their personality. There are two main ways this happens. Firstly, by understanding what is wrong in them and how this came about. This is itself does not change anything but at least you feel less confused about yourself.
Secondly and most importantly, is the chance to have new experiences with your therapist or counsellor which slowly allow you to develop in a new way. For example: You expect others to be cross and impatient with you if you do not understand something straight away. This is probably what happened to you as a child and you may have chosen friends and maybe a partner who do get impatient with you like this. Unfortunately we all tend to repeat patterns that do not help us.
Now, in therapy, you will begin to discover that your therapist does not get impatient. He or she will point out to you when they notice that you are expecting them to do this so that you notice your reactions and can think about them. Slowly but surely your expectation of people will change and you will react in a different way when people are impatient. You won’t immediately think it’s your fault for being stupid. You may even be able to challenge their behaviour!
Now, these things takes time because it’s a change in our character. You have to decide whether change is important enough to you to give the time, money and commitment to therapy in order to achieve this.
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