When you are starting to contemplate therapy or when you are first getting started in therapy, it is important to be aware of some of the obstacles that can keep you from getting the most out of your therapy time. Regardless of the reason that you are seeing a therapist, you are likely going because you want to get the most value from your time and the most help for the money you spend. The last thing that you want from your time in therapy is more pain, disappointment, and frustration than you are experiencing in the rest of your life. If you are aware of the things that could or are already tripping you up, you and your therapist can work on adjusting your course before it is too late.
There are four very common obstacles that can keep you from making the progress you want to be making with your therapy.
1. Unrealistic Expectations
Cultivating unrealistic expectations is one of the major reasons why so many people drop out of therapy too soon. When you start with therapy, you may think that one or two sessions is going to cure you or that your whole life with be completely different because you started to see a therapist. But these things are just not so. Therapy, like anything else, is a process. In most cases, it can take a lot of time for you to see some of the far reaching changes that can happen because of therapy. You may also expect that therapy will be easy and painless. That is not true either. Therapy can be difficult and painful as you look at yourself and look at those around you. It can be rather like cleaning out a wound. It is going to hurt, but you will ultimately feel better.
2. Mistrust of Your Therapist
If you make the decision not to trust your therapist, you are probably better off stopping right away. While trust is not built overnight, putting your trust and confidence in your therapist is one of the only ways that you are going to find what you seek through therapy. If you do not trust your therapist, how are you going to feel safe enough to talk about the intimate details of your life? How are you going to let down your guard and get to the real meat of your difficulties? Your therapist may be able to help you walk through some of your trust issues, but you will have to own up to them first and this requires some trust unto itself. Sometimes just getting past the issue of trust can be half the battle.
3. Venting Without Communicating
Venting is good for you sometimes. It feels good for a little while. But using your whole therapy session as a means of simply venting, you are not going to be getting any real work done. Venting all the time can simply keep you stuck right where you are, and where you are is what has led you to therapy in the first place. Venting is essential now and again, but there needs to be a good balance between venting and working on the issues that are a little deeper.
4. Poor Attitude
While it is possible that you have gone to therapy because you want to be there, it is also possible that you are there because someone else wants you to be there. Your attitude about therapy is going to make a difference no matter the reason that you are there. Some of the common difficult attitudes about therapy are that you do not need it or that it is a waste of time. If you are just in therapy to please someone else but are not planning to take the process seriously, either change your attitude or get out. For you, it would be a waste of time. Being certain that you will not be revealing anything about yourself to your therapist or that you know yourself better than your therapist even could is also a bad attitude to have. With this attitude, you are unlikely to get any real work done or have therapy be very successful for you. You do not need to go in with super happy positive attitude, but you do need to feel that you are willing and ready to work on yourself. You need to be open to the process.