If you are naive to therapy, you may be wondering what your job is as a client. The therapeutic relationship is an alliance. The therapist has the important role of being a facilitator, advocate, coach, challenger, questioner and/or interpreter. You, however, are the only one who can make change happen and give birth to new beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Interestingly, researchers in psychology have found that if you have a skilled therapist, the single most important factor that
determines therapy outcome is how motivated you are to change!
Some people come to a first session clear about what they want. For others, the therapeutic experience itself is a journey of discovering why they are unhappy or distressed. You do not need to know everything about why you are there. In fact, typically, as the therapeutic process unfolds, new questions come to light and new frontiers of exploration present themselves. It is rare that people have only one problem. We are too complex. Human beings and human problems are multifaceted.
What is required of you as the client? Therapy entails a tremendous commitment on your part of time, energy and money. Remember, this is your emotional and mental well being we are talking about here. Of course, engagement is going to be a tall order. To benefit from therapy, you need to be willing to tell your story, share what you think and feel and be as honest as you can in the process. Typically, the more you reveal, the more a therapist will be able to help you. You need to be willing to trust, to be open and to be challenged. Also, it is important that you play an active role in providing feedback so your therapist knows how you are being affected by what happens in the therapy room. The therapeutic relationship is an ongoing dialogue. You may be called upon to be an active participant in identifying, monitoring, modifying, excavating, polishing, practicing, learning, unlearning and soul searching. Last but not least, you need to be willing to change. This is no small feat. It takes time to achieve and a whole lot of bravery.