Understanding a therapist’s role
Therapy is a learning process, for you to learn about yourself, a great tool to work through your feelings or cognitive processes, identify anything that you feel isn’t working for you and to allow you to implement a change if you wish. Your therapist will provide insight into what they may believe is either going on for you or what the issue you’re struggling with may be. Any insight your therapist provides you is based only on the small amount of information they know about you, this therefore isn’t always accurate and it’s always on you to determine what is accurate when you apply that insight onto everything you know about your life and yourself. Your therapist is bound by ethics and guidelines which must be followed, to be genuine with you they may provide insight when they notice something’s going on for you. Your therapist may challenge you (gently) on your cognitive processes to help you identify for yourself what might be the cause of your issue to help you work through this.
Your role in therapy
Reflection is a great tool for you to work through and identify if any of the insight provided is accurate for you, this can help you understand yourself and your issues better. Occasionally you may already be aware of the issues and where they stem from but this knowledge hasn’t changed anything for you. Processing information is a key aspect in change – each individual will process information differently so we’ve come up with a simple example to help you identify the way you process information: If your currently belief is 2+2=5 and this is all you know, you may find yourself struggling with applying this in situations, if however through conversations you come to realise 2+2= 4, what would you need to do to stop believing 2+2=5 and start believing 2+2=4? A good way of thinking about this is think about when you learnt to drive and what was it is that you did, that helped you put into practise how to drive. Once you’ve identified how you process information, you can use this method to implement any changes you want to address.
Changing your narratives
Usually when you go through a negative experience, you will have told yourself what happened, why (maybe through over analysing) along with associated feelings, these becomes belief systems that you have in place. When you come across similar situations that are only similar, you revert back to the narrative from the first experience. This can cause issues because these narratives are usually flawed by the intensity of the experience and your feelings. Being aware of what has actually happened vs what you’ve told yourself is important. Changing these narratives can change the way you feel and think in the future.
Change takes time
People like what they’re used to, we like our comfort zones even if it’s unhealthy and not working for us. We tend to have some level of resistance to change, which means changes we want to implement can take a bit of time. We tend to feel familiarity means safety and change means danger (better the devil you know), this belief system can make it a bit difficult for you to sustain a change. Changes tend to stick with consistency (same way you learnt to drive or undertook an exercise regime), you may find that you have relapses with change, as you’re not used to the change just yet. Eventually you may find that when the change is implemented, your comfort zone has expanded to include the new change.