A therapist should not be in the business of telling people what to do. Seeking out therapy is different than seeking out medical advice. Although therapists can certainly find skillful ways of providing purposeful suggestions, therapeutic breakthroughs come from an individual's own work, process and willingness to take risks in session by exploring themselves in ways they likely do not do with others. For example, if a person comes to therapy seeking help with anxiety, they will not necessarily leave the initial session with a list of absolutes to try in order to reduce anxiety. A therapist may provide psychoeducation on anxiety and some strategies for managing periods of heightened anxiety, but it is more important for someone to learn about the roots of their own anxiety and to gain awareness as to what might be most beneficial to them. This can take time. Many of us are often unaware of our own emotional reactions and maladaptive behaviors we have created over the years.
Therapy is about self-exploration, not being told what to do. Therapy is about discovering yourself in a way that allows you to better manage life's difficulties, not about a therapist telling you what to do when life gets difficult. A therapist can't heal a broken heart, an addiction, a trauma or depression. A therapist provides one with the environment in which a therapeutic relationship is established. This relationship allows an individual to begin a process of enlightenment that leads to a discovery of the self that up until now has been hidden, unknown, afraid, shut down or simply complacent. Seek out a therapist, not to be told what to do, but to be given the opportunity to learn what to do and to start living life on your own terms (not a therapist's terms).
Be kind to yourselves and to each other.
© Copyright 2017 Douglas Layer, M.A., LPCC