The questions the general public has about therapy are myriad but at Therapy Matters, our goal is transparency and accessibility. You ask, and we answer!
What is therapy? What goes on in a typical session? Why can’t I simply ask direct questions and get answers during therapy? What are “modalities”?
The above questions are typical of a person at the beginning of their journey in mental health care. They come from clients eager for more information, who have just begun work with us.
The world of therapy can seem confusing and mysterious to many. Between the stigma against mental illness in society and our tendency to just not talk about therapy, it can seem like a strange world where people travel but where information remains.
Fortunately, we can demystify what occurs during a session. A good therapist, most of the time, should be concerned with staying out of the patient’s way and leaving them in the driver’s seat. The goal is always to help the patient find the right answers and practices for their own individual situation. These aren’t the ask-and-answer sessions many people envision them to be: If a therapist is addressing a patient’s questions and concerns from their own perspective, they are giving advice applicable to them, but not necessarily to the patient.
Ultimately, then, the therapist is a guide. By listening to what you value and what you feel, your therapist should be able to add insight from their education and experience to direct you to your own answers. It’s challenging to come to these realizations on your own, in the bustle of your day-to-day. Therapy is time out of that grind to do this vital work. A therapist shouldn’t lead, but rather should follow your lead, and guide you gently down the path to greater understanding and thus, greater mental health.
Naturally, an experienced guide can see when the trail is growing impassable. A therapist can spot and identify when a patient’s suffering and trauma is standing in the way of them getting healthier. This is where modalities come into play. Modalities are, simply put, just ways of doing things. They are different methods for addressing pain, suffering, and other roadblocks so that the patient can get past them and further down the road to relief, recovery, and health. Good modalities reduce or eliminate unnecessary delays, anxiety over treatment, and can even help reduce the financial strain of pursuing therapy. They allow the therapist to do what they do best- supporting you in your journey.
How do I know if I’m pursuing therapy correctly? How do I say the right things? Is there a way to mess it up?
The questions and the concerns they pose tend to crop up before a person begins therapy. They can even see a person talk themselves out of pursuing mental health care!
Rest assured that there is no “wrong” way of doing therapy. Nothing that you have to say is irrelevant, off the mark, or off-topic. A therapists job as a guide is only assisted by more information. What you talk about helps the therapist learn what is important to you. They aren’t scrutinizing your every word, looking to poke holes- They are trying to learn about what is important to you and the challenges you are facing so they may better understand you and your goals for mental health.
By simply being present, open, and honest, you are helping your therapist to help you! Don’t worry about messing it up. You can’t!