Category: Dr. Mike Morejon

4 Common Obstacles to Making Therapy Work

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.

The Not-So-Fun Day – How to Deal with Adolescent Behaviors

The other day I went to Disney World on a family outing and had planned to spend the day at Epcot with one of my teenage daughters.  I had been looking forward to this for several months and she had to.  I love my daughter very much, but like all teens she knows how to get under my skin and was working very hard to do just that the night before our big day.  I was trying to be very patient, using all the very same techniques I try to teach the parents we council at Proliance Center, but none of it was working.  My teen was hell bent on driving me crazy.

You see I have trouble paying attention with a lot of background noise, but this one is a great multi-tasker.  She has the ability to watch TV, Instagram and play games on her phone, all while listening to her parent’s conversations without missing a word.  I truly do not have that gift and needing to concentrate on something important I asked her to lower the TV in our hotel room.

“No.  I am watching that show”, she said.

“I know.  It’s just for a second, because I can’t concentrate with it on”, I replied.

“Well, I can and you should learn how, because I do it all the time at home when YOU watch TV!” she said back

“I understand, but I can’t.  Please shut it off”, I said.

“No!  I don’t want to!  That’s one of my favorite shows”, she says.  [Now I’m starting to get upset.]

“You are being selfish, you have that show recorded at home, AND I asked you please”, I said.

“No YOU are being selfish!” she says.  [At this point my blood is starting to boil and I am thinking all kinds of things:  how she is acting like a spoiled brat, how I would never have dared to speak to my parents like that, how my parents would have likely.. Well, let’s just say it is a different time now, not to mention we are stuck in a single hotel room together.]

Lucky, for me (or maybe my daughter), in swoops my wife, having just gotten out of the restroom.  Tag team is one awesome advantage of having two parents, I must admit.  In any case, my wife tried unsuccessfully to talk some sense into her.  This conversation kept going back and forth, now with my wife on my side.  Finally, I gave her one last warning

“If you don’t shut that TV right now there is going to be a serious consequence!”  [Amazing how a simple thing can blow out of proportion and, reflecting back, I should have left the room to cool down, but at the time I wanted to make sure my daughter knew I was in charge.  Not to mention I had been nice all along.  Or at least I started off that way.]

“NO!!!” she said.

Fine then No Epcot tomorrow!!!” I said.

No sooner had the words left my mouth than I thought “Shoots there goes my day tomorrow”.  I didn’t really think shoots, but I am cleaning it up for you readers.  She seemed unfazed as we went out for dinner, while I was completely numb stewing inside of how the awesome day of fun we had planned for months was now ruined.  She kept it going all night with myself in silence, knowing the day of reckoning for her was coming.

The next morning she acted as if nothing had happened, until I dropped the bomb that we weren’t going.  Now the reality of it all set in for her and she cried and pleaded about the ruined day.

“Please, please, I want to go.  How about our day together?  Can I have another punishment?”

I, on the other hand had already mourned the loss of this day the night before, while she joked and laughed smugly at diner.  Nevertheless I really wanted to make a deal with her, but I didn’t tell her that.  As painful as it was I needed to stick to the punishment I gave her.  Even my wife in a moment of weakness and sadness for my daughter and I tempted me in private

“Are you sure you don’t want to give her another punishment instead?”

But I painfully kept my word and my daughter’s punishment.  My intent was to still spend the day with my daughter doing some other mediocre activity, but still with her.  After all I wasn’t going to take father-daughter time away, just the awesome location and fun part.  Remember here folks that this was super painful for me too.  In punishing her I couldn’t go on the super fun day either.

Well the hammer was dropped and she would now learn her lesson, I thought.  However, not without more pain for good ole dad.  You see now that she knew that I wasn’t taking her for super fun day at Epcot and that her pleas did not work, she was going to give ME hell.  She complained about anything and everything that we did for half the day and it was hell.  She was truly a bitter pill to be around, but I remained strong.  At least on the outside, on the inside I had a fleeting thought of why people don’t have kids.

In any case, the pain came and went and by the end of the day we manage to salvage it and have a great time.  “I’m sorry daddy”, she said.  “Me too, honey”.  We hugged, we laughed, took funny selfies and other photos and soon the day and weekend came to an end.  I can truly say we had a great time together, though we never went to Epcot.  Did she learn a lesson?  I hope so!  I don’t want to miss another super fun day.

The take home point for all you readers with kids is that:

  • We must be careful not to become engaged in pointless arguments with our kids.
  • We must avoid giving consequences in anger.
  • Time outs are not just for kids, they can help parents cool down too.
  • We must follow through with the consequences we give our children.
  • Never punish a child by removing time you spend with them.
  • Even the Child Psychiatrist at Proliance Center isn’t perfect!  LOL

– Dr. Michael Morejon, Proliance Center

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