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How to REALLY Talk to your Therapist: Four Collaborative Steps

June 11th, 2008 by StevenFrankel | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 2,715 views | Print this Article

By Steven Frankel, M.D.

People who go into therapy frequently report good experiences where the patient feels understood and well-supported by the therapist, who uses his or her therapeutic skills to facilitate a discovery and healing process.

But what if your therapy frustrates you? What if your therapist is off base and you don’t seem to be making progress? What happens if you can’t communicate with your therapist?

Here are several tips for getting more out of your therapy by learning how to REALLY communicate with your therapist.

#1: Take ownership of your therapy

It’s tempting to believe your therapist has all the answers, and it may seem easiest to let the therapist make all decisions about treatment. You might even feel afraid of asking questions or discussing concerns about your therapy.

Remember that therapists are human beings and have the same flaws as the rest of us. Therapy is a subjective process, and the therapist can only give his or her own subjectively colored opinion, which has been shaped by his training and life experiences. That viewpoint may not always be the right one for you.

As the “consumer” in the therapy partnership, it’s your responsibility to look after your best interests and to be an active participant in your therapy. If something isn’t working, it’s up to you to talk about it with your therapist. The message is clear: Take your therapist off the pedestal and take ownership of your therapy. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting the Most Out of Therapy: How to Collaborate With Your Therapist

June 11th, 2008 by StevenFrankel | Posted in Psychotherapy | No Comments » | 2,493 views | Print this Article

By Steven Frankel, M.D.

The decision to work with a therapist is never straightforward, but there are times in life when we just need that extra emotional support. While we may have loved ones who will help us through rough times, it is often a good idea to seek the less biased support of a professional when dealing with life’s difficult emotional challenges.

Many people who go into therapy have good experiences. The patient feels understood and well supported by the therapist, who uses his skills to facilitate the patient’s discovery and healing process. But what if your therapy leaves you feeling frustrated? What if you believe your therapist isn’t “getting you”? What if you aren’t receiving the outcome you expected?

If your therapy isn’t going well, where does the responsibility lie? Is it with you? Or could it be the type of therapy you have selected or even the therapist? What is the best way to talk to your therapist about these issues?

It’s not uncommon in any therapist-patient relationship for the patient to expect that the doctor will be all-wise and all-knowing. Sometimes the patient assumes the therapist will take care of everything and that he or she, the patient, must simply follow doctor’s orders. It may seem easier to let the professional call the shots and make the decisions about treatment. As the patient you might feel reluctant to ask questions or voice concerns. Read the rest of this entry »