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This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Two-Way Street

In a discussion with Lauren Mcleod about learning, we were talking about what is required for new learning to take place.  When I said:  "Sometimes it takes repetition." Lauren said:  "Not if you are open to it."  If you are receptive and open in your therapy, not only to what your therapist offers, but, also, to what emerges in you, you will have the best chance of getting the most out of it.  Of course, this requires some degree of trust.  Maybe you need to assure yourself o f your therapist's credentials before you begin, maybe you need answers to some questions you have about the therapist's experience, or maybe, it will just take some time.  But if you are in therapy, it would be to your advantage to pay attention to how open you are in that relationship.

Today in a session I had with one of my patients who is a long-term recovering alcoholic, he quoted an AA saying;  " You can't give it away if you don't have it."  And this is the other side of the coin.  It seems to me to be most important for the person in the therapist's chair to have been and be in their own growth process.  A therapist is not a guru, shouldn't be a know-it-all, nor should they think they  have all the answers.  What you want for your witness, your guide, is a person who is in process, themselves.  The therapist must be learning and developing constantly.  There is a difference---between you and the therapist, between the therapist and your friends or relatives---that difference is, training, watching many others go through problems to reach resolution, and more experience with self-evaluation.  However, it seems to me that the therapist should be engaged in the act of introspection and in their own efforts of personal development just as their patient is.

Psychotherapy is a two-way street:  Both the patient and the therapist must take responsibility for their part in creating the healing relationship.

Do you think of your therapy as a collaboration?


  1. I do think therapy is a collaboration. It is a very unique collaboration, since the goal is not a "we" goal but a "me" goal instead. I have had therapist's in the past who took no responsibility for their side of things, and were more of a "here is my wisdom, follow it" type. My current therapist is the first to remind me she isn't a guru, and that she doesn't have all the answers. Because of that, our time together is definitely collaborative, and the relationship that has developed, though one sided, is what makes the collaboration work as honestly and openly as it does.

  2. You make a good point about how 2 people are working for the benefit of one. It's part of what makes therapy a unique experience. Your current therapist sounds down-to-earth which is how I, personally like therapists to be.