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10 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You But Wants You to Know

10 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You But Wants You to Know

Making the decision to see a therapist can be both scary and empowering. Knowing that you have issues to address, and having the strength to do so, is a great first step toward personal growth and healing. Sadly, fear of the unknown and a misunderstanding of the process often prevents people from seeking the help they need and desire. For those who would like to begin the therapeutic journey, but are hesitant to do so, it may be helpful to have some information provided by someone who sits in the other chair.

1. We wish we could be as blunt as Dr. Phil.

If you really desire change, you’ll welcome honesty. And we will be honest with you, we just have to be careful in how we do so. Therapists are trained to be non-judgmental and non-offensive. In some cases we may know that the best way to get through to a person is to give a dose of good old-fashioned “in your face” truth, but we want you to keep coming back.

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2. We have our own problems, and you can benefit from them.

You don’t want a therapist who has had a perfect life, free of conflict or turmoil. You don’t want to be looking for guidance from someone who has never had to figure out the best way to handle a difficult personal situation. We won’t tell you our life stories during your session, but you can benefit from our successful problem-solving skills just the same.

3. You should want us to talk about you…in private.

It benefits you when we talk about your case (confidentially, of course) to our colleagues and mentors. Sometimes we need to bounce things off of each other and brainstorm the best way to help you. This type of consultation really does help you in the long run. Let us know you’re okay with this.

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4. We don’t always know the perfect solution.

Just as we should be humble enough to ask for advice from our colleagues, we should also recognize when the problems you are facing are beyond our expertise. We will always help you the best way we can, holding true to our code of ethics, but if we discover that you would benefit from talking to someone with more experience in your area of difficulty, we will likely recommend a referral.

5. We are not in it for the money.

Yes, there are practitioners who make a lucrative income practicing their professions. But don’t forget the level of time, effort and money they have put into becoming qualified to do what they do. The truth is, a lot of helping professionals are not paid a generous amount to practice, but are there for you anyway because…

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6. We do care about you.

We may appear to be detached at times, but we are trained to remain objective. We can’t help you figure out your issues if we become as entangled in them as you are. But there is no way we could sit across from you day after day, witnessing your pain and suffering, if we didn’t truly want to help you.

7. Not all of us are good at what we do.

As much as we’d like to think otherwise, we know there are therapists out there who are not qualified to counsel properly. These “helpers” may have questionable or inadequate training, or they may have chosen their career path for misguided reasons. Either way, they are harmful and will give you bad advice. Do your homework! Ask about educational background, areas of expertise, treatment philosophy and overall approach to the process. Make sure you are confident in the therapist’s ability to help you.

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8. It may take several tries to find the right therapist for you.

Not every match is perfect the first time around. Sometimes you need to search a little to find the right fit. Therapy should be slightly uncomfortable–discomfort breeds change–but that refers to the process, not the therapist. If anything about the therapist’s beliefs or approach puts up a red flag for you, talk about it. Ask questions and share your concerns. A good therapist will welcome this discussion. If you cannot resolve the problem, it may be time to move on.

9. You may not be ready for therapy right now.

Just as you need to be sure you are working with the right therapist, you also need to be sure you are seeking help at the right time. If you are not truly ready to change, you are wasting both your time and ours. Nothing aggravates a therapist more than someone who reserves an appointment, and then either doesn’t participate fully and honestly, or doesn’t show up at all. How quickly you heal is ultimately up to you.

10. A lot of this information should be shared with you up front.

None of what is disclosed in this article is top secret. Lots of important information will be given to you in the beginning stages of your therapy, and you will be asked to provide a lot of information to the therapist as well. A good therapist will take time to explain the process, provide the reasons behind all of the initial questions, and to ease your worries as you embark on the path to greater personal achievement.

Whether you have already begun the counseling process, or are still in the consideration phase, it is important to know that the therapist is there as a resource and a facilitator of your success. Helping others is in our nature, but we are human and cannot alone work miracles. Successful therapy is a journey defined by genuine commitment, willful self-exploration and meaningful communication.

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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