Emotional Openness in Counseling

Emotional Openness in Counseling

As you can see, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Things have been really busy lately, and there are a lot interesting things to share. Today I’m going to write about the courage it takes to be emotionally open in therapy. I’m always struck by the bravery it takes for someone to even pick up the phone and make the first initial appointment. It’s scary not to know what to expect and to even be sure of whether you want to be that open before you’ve even heard the person’s voice that you will be talking to on a weekly basis.

Most of us have our own ideas of what therapy should be like in our minds. Should the therapist be young or old? Will they be competent enough to help with my particular problem? Are they male or female? What if I don’t feel comfortable with them? Does therapy actually work and how is this therapist diffferent than the ones I have seen before? People come with different expectations, with some folks preferring to see a therapist who provides them with validation and rarely speaks and others desiring to have a therapist that speaks more and is more directive. Sometimes the therapist is seen as an authority figure or as a person who would be a friend if they had been met in a different context.

For all of these different perspectives on what therapy should be, it’s best to work toward finding your fit. Sometimes it helps to think outside the box a little and, for example, stray outside your comfort zone with someone young when you have in your mind to work with someone old. Our perspectives all come from life experiences, and the fun, often challenging, part of therapy is exploring those life experiences in a place that should be safe. Therapy takes a lot of guts and it’s hard to place yourself out there with a new person. Just think of all the things you can learn with someone new. . .

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