What A Therapist Actually Thinks About 'Therapy'

I meet you for the very first time.  "How do you feel about being here even though we haven't done anything yet?" I ask.  And during that first session I hear the problem, what difficulty in life has brought you to this appointment.

 I want to help. That’s what I do, right?  I wish that I had that "magic wand."  Therapy is a little like ”magic", more of a “process, over time” that will work. You will be different, things will be different in your life if you 'follow the course."  When my daughter was much younger her pediatrician once described an antibiotic she had prescribed as being like a “blast gun.”  With that, I was impressed, I wanted a quick cure so she could go back to school and my life would be normal again.  Therapy does not quite work that way. I can’t prescribe an antibiotic to create the “blast gun effect.” What I can do is help you understand the problems that you have and show you how to find solutions for them...over time.

Several years ago, I had a supervisor once say to me; “Just listen and stop trying to go in and fix.”   Listening, really hearing what you, my client, are saying, is a skill I have developed over time.  I try to listen for “what’s under the rug.”  Listening without judgment and defensiveness can be a challenge. You may  challenge me in every session;  challenging my values, my beliefs, and my faith in my ability to be helpful to you.  I feel the anxiety in the room and I know that you want relief at that moment for whatever is ailing you.

Think about it this way: If you came to me saying how unhappy you were in your current relationship or marriage, and I told you every single thing I had ever learned about how to 'fix' your problems...would you do it?

The truth is that you wouldn't. Because your mind is not ready to hear what I have to say yet. What you need is someone to listen to you...so that I can understand how you really work and how you see yourself in the world. Only then, can real change happen.

Therapy is a journey. But if you know where you want to go, if you know that you want a change, I can help you get there. And while I may not be prescribing the 'magic bullet' you're initially hoping for, you'll see that you'll not only get everything you want...but also want you need...in the long run.


For today, try a simple exercise. What if you did have a magic wand? What is it that you're wishing for? What's the first step you can take, today?

Maybe it's journaling. Maybe it's talking to a friend. Or maybe it's making your first appointment, which you can do here.

In the meantime, I'll be listening.