Getting Help at Helping Yourself

Q: Dr. Hurd, I was disappointed with my recent therapy experience. Could the problem have been the therapist? I don’t know what I wanted; but I didn’t get it. Please advise.

A: Look at what you’re saying. Let’s apply it to a different situation. “I went to the hardware store. I don’t know what I wanted, but I didn’t find it.” Does this make any sense to you? Is the fault the hardware store here, or yourself? It’s the same with therapy. If you’re going to a therapist, you must take some responsibility. Get out of the medical model mindset. You’re not going “to the doctor” for a cure to what ails you. You’re going to get an objective perspective. That’s one thing that any therapist should be able to offer you, for sure. The therapist doesn’t tell you what to do but is, or at least should be, (1) a good listener; (2) able to give you an objective perspective; and (3) willing to feed back and summarize what you’re saying. Don’t go to a therapist and expect nothing in particular. If you do, that’s exactly what you’re going to get–and it’s not necessarily the therapist’s fault.