Psychotherapy is rational and accessible. It is not some esoteric, undefinable, mystical process. It is a logical process which anyone can understand and follow. There is no reason for anything in a session to be unreasonable or mysterious. On the contrary, in good psychotherapy every step should make complete sense to you. You may end up in strange territory, but it should be entirely clear to you how you got there.
This notion that facts and logic drive the psychotherapy process goes a long way in countering the flood of abstract hypotheses that can clutter and confuse us when we try to think about what makes us tick. You may have heard yourself or others
wondering “Maybe I sabotage myself”, “Maybe I resent my wife”, “Maybe I don’t want to be the boss”, “Maybe I’m afraid of commitment”, “Maybe I need a vacation”, “Maybe I’m the type of person who …”, “Maybe I’m a compulsive, an addict, a depressive, a type A, a type B, a …” One can only answer, “maybe the sky turns green every time you stop looking at it”; the only way to know is to back up and look at the facts. Facts are not only external, but include your feelings, your reactions, your perceptions. In sessions, it will be important for you to take an active role in trying on your and your therapist’s ideas. The most important proof that an interpretation or suggestion from either side of the room is correct is your reaction to it.
Psychotherapy is a dialog. It is not a teaching session. You present data, the therapist offers ideas about that data, as well as her (or his) own data — her feelings, her past experience, her own theories — then you pick up the ball, and so on. Has the therapist helped you discover truth about yourself, your life, your feelings — and is this material helping you make the changes you want — or is he up a tree? If the latter, you must speak up. No therapist will be right all the time. You have to sort this out together, but the final word is yours.
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