Yes, your therapist has spent years in school being trained, and then years after school honing their skills under the supervision of a wiser therapist. Yes, they are good at identifying patterns, understanding people, and making a solid differential diagnosis. Yes, they even have a ton of good advice.
No, your therapist will not fix you.
This statement may make you think about why you would even consider coming to a therapist who wasn’t able to fix you. Isn’t that the whole point?! You have a problem, and you need it fixed. So you call a therapist.
Most clients enter therapy with the expectations that their therapist will fix them, or at least impart some special wisdom along the way. Over time I’ve come to perceive the job of a therapist as one there to help them find their own answers, not to give them the answers. This misconception has been the hardest to battle.
You see, solving an individual’s problems for them does not fix everything. It only creates bigger problems! That person then never learns how to shift their life themselves. Instead, they learned to rely on another human being instead of developing independence and capacity to shape their life. Also, on a side note: people are truly unique! While I believe every therapist’s job is to become expert on their individual clients, it is nearly impossible to know every solution and answer needed for each individual. Thankfully, good therapy hinges on the fact that healing comes from the client.
While our culture has defined therapists as mythical creatures with wisdom and powers unlimited- the truth is that is not the truth. As I mentioned above, your therapist is highly trained and skilled. But therapists do not and should not be the directors of people’s lives, unless the person needs a higher level of care and hospitalization because they are highly dysfunctional.
Therapists who habitually shell out wisdom and advice to people under the guise of helping people can often be satisfying a personal emotional need to feel smart, needed, and appreciated. And this behavior comes at a price: the delay or expense of the client’s progress towards becoming self-sufficient. Instead, this encourages dependency, inhibiting people from trusting their own self and becoming a full-functioning being.
A therapist’s job and task is helping people tap into their own wisdom and resources. People are the true experts on themselves! Deep down they know what is needed better than anyone else- including their therapist. Great therapists are only a guide, helping the person ask the right questions and shape their own life.
Therapy would not be therapy without a therapist. They do bring about the healing process through holding space and imparting wisdom. They offer a high commit to you and your health. They will partner with you and stick with you during the entire process, reflecting and pointing out patterns in life. When needed, they will challenge you. There are so many benefits from having a helping professional as part of your life! But the true catalyst to healing comes from a client’s ability gain insight, interpret life, or lend compassion towards self.
You get to be the hero in your story. Your therapist is only the guide.
Written by therapist Alexandra Hoerr
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