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Therapy: A Partnership Where Two Brains Are Better Than One

Talking through your problems with a therapist takes courage, and sometimes people wonder if it will make a real difference to their situation. The role of a therapist is to help you see and understand yourself in a different way than you might be able to do on your own.  All of us have blind spots and that is why it is difficult to solve problems without talking them through with someone.

There is a saying that I don't know what I think until I say it out loud. This reflects the difference between thoughts going around in your head where you are trying to come up with a solution on your own, and the difference it can make to talk to a therapist. It takes courage to talk to another person about what is troubling you, especially if this is personal. There can be a fear of judgement when exposing our inner selves, but often a great sense of relief.

It doesn't mean that the therapist has a toolbox of solutions and knows it all, but the aim is to have someone think through your difficulties with you. It is a partnership, with the aim of helping you to understand what gets in the way of making the changes you want in your life. Some people may wonder what the best way to use the therapy is. The reality is that everyone uses it in a different way and there are no rules, except to talk about whatever is bothering you. A therapist will never be shocked or upset, and will encourage to express all of your feelings, including negative ones about the therapist.

If you can, it is helpful to talk about the subjects you find most painful, perhaps even to talk about the thing you least want to talk about. It is after all a safe and confidential space to explore your thoughts and feelings. It is usually most helpful if you can come to therapy at least weekly, so that the therapy keeps apace with your daily life, and important interactions don't get forgotten.

The truth is that most of the work of therapy takes place outside the therapy room. You begin to observe yourself more, and notice when you have reactions that are out of proportion, and begin to understand these when you bring them to therapy. The aim in the end is not so much to get rid of difficult feelings (that is called being alive!) but to be able to deal with these feelings in a more constructive way.

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