7 Steps To Making Couples Counseling Work For You By Dr. Arlene Krieger, PHD Patients often ask their therapist what action they should take regarding a specific dynamic in their relationship. It is important for the the individual or couple upon entering the therapy process to be aware, that it is not for the Doctor or Therapist to tell them what to do or how to do it, but rather, to interpret for the couple, and help them to understand exactly what it is that they are attempting to communicate.
A therapist's job is not to FIX the people who seek their services, but to "Help Them Help Themselves. " During this process, the therapist provides a safe haven to explore issues, and an experts positioning on the sequences of behavior and patterns of interaction at play in the what might seem to be a deteriorating relationship.
It is often difficult, as the saying goes, "to see the forest for the trees" when one is in the middle of crisis in their own personal trials and tribulations of life and love. As the Therapist, it is my job to help the couple/individual make sense of and choose possible options for moving forward in their relationships in a pro-active and positive manner.
Given that the basic and essential boundaries in place, the groundwork for therapy to "work its magic".
In the first 3 sessions, the therapist must "join" with the patient, meaning, that each respective party begins to feel comfortable in their role as patient, and therapist. It is during these crucial beginning sessions that the doctor/patient relationship is nurtured and the patient(s) often begin to see and feel progress.
Should the patient(s) decide that there is a "comfort zone" and they wish to continue with therapy with this particular doctor/ therapist, it is at this point that the interactive components of trust and therapeutic process between Doctor and Patient develop into a relationship that is trusting and dynamic.
understanding the Therapeutic process is the secret to a" healthy working relationship" with your therapist, and to getting the most out of your therapy. A few of these rules for therapy are listed below.
1. Going into therapy, decide whether you are there to "win" at something, or to "work on solutions" to help your relationship survive.
2. A good therapist will not "take sides". Your therapist is well-trained to work from an Objective stance, not Subjective.
3. This is your hour to let down your defenses: Don't come into therapy with a "chip on your shoulder. You are either here to gain a better understanding of your relationship
or to fight about the past. Unfair fighting is not easily tolerated by any therapist, much less any mate.
4. Responsibility for your own life, relationship and therapeutic process is a key to success. not going to therapy will not "fix" your relationship. It is up to you and your mate to follow through with the therapeutic process while with me or not.
5. The therapist will probabyly provide interactive discussion during therapy. Today's therapy hopes to provide the patient with Solutions for Today's problems. Simply venting or talking to the therapist for the 55 minute session is old school therapy, psychodynamic, and often leaves the patient feeling as thought they've come out of therapy with no new tools or skills with which to experiment.
6. In solution-focused therapy, homework, or directives for further development of your therapy treatment plan are implemented, so that you've done your part of the therapy process between sessions whether they be live or on the telephone.
7. Therapy is not a day at the Park. Expect to feel uncomfortable at the beginning. It is difficult to feel vulnerable and safe enough at the same time, to express your personal issues and move forward with your therapist. Hopefully these guidelines will provide a birds-eye view enabling you to get the most from your investment in Psychotherapy. If you are reading this article, you are taking the first step to improving your quality of life and relationships. Small baby steps can lead to great accomplishments.
Disclaimer: The information contained within is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical care. Those persons with specific medical questions should consult their dentist, doctor, or other medical care provider.