For most people, the first time they see a psychologist can seem like a daunting experience. There is a sense of unpredictability and perhaps pre-formed beliefs and views about what counselling is like, how a psychologist looks or what they are expected to do.
For others, they have been struggling with anxiety or depression for so long that they want to just rid of it completely. It often takes some trust that others can help them so that they are able to stick with therapy long enough to experience the therapeutic process more effectively.
The quality of the therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist as a significant contributer to change is less easily captured and tends to be underemphasised. Research evidence links therapist skill to improved client and therapy outcome. Awareness, attuning to moment-to-moment processes and the application of creative solutions to problems reflect a set of psychologist skills that can help to shift those who are struggling with change. For example, feelings of guilt can motivate an individual to work towards change and reparation. However, excessive guilt can be a barrier to action. Reflecting on emotional experience in a compassionate and safe space is part of the therapeutic process.
Some of the change that you can expect from therapy:
- Connecting with the reasons that there may be a resistance to change
- Breaking patterns than interfere with change
- Accepting responsibility and resolve to make change
- Feeling more secure in relationships
- Feeling more confidence in trying different things
- Facing fears that have been avoided
- A different perspective to an otherwise ‘stuck’ past or present situation
- Shift in thinking patterns
- Satisfaction with treatment
My four-year old daughter once said to me in the heat of her tiredness and frustration – “mummy, it’s your fault! you make my heartbeat fast and my bones feel sad.” This sticks with me because that is the kind of change I want to feel; and I hope others feel too as I build on my parenting confidence and strengthen the relationship I have with my children. A change that reverberates in the body, in my mind and change that other feel through their skin and bones when we are together.