Therapy is not just a conversation between two persons


A therapist will prepare notes, do research, read a lot of material before forming a therapeutic plan for clients. To prepare for that 1-hour session, therapist spends hours in understanding the case and work on it. Therapist while in session would know the basics of therapies but which technique to use and how to help a client they have to study a lot. It is just not about the degree that they get in college, it is also about the hours spent after college, after session to research about cases.

Another related and important aspect to discuss here is that clients can sometimes have a fear of becoming dependent on their therapist. What needs to be understood here is that one of the most very important aims of therapy is to empower the client. The insights, skills, techniques, and everything that is discussed in the therapy sessions are to be understood, accepted, and applied by the client in their day-to-day lives, without which therapy cannot be effective. It’s the responsibility of the client to make changes to improve their overall quality of life and seek psychological help if and when needed. 


Here are few things that could affect a therapist and therapy sessions. Let’s see how a therapist feels about certain situations.


Not turning up for the session


There could be any number of reasons why clients don’t show up for therapy after booking an appointment. They could have changed their mind, feeling unsure about whether they even need therapy, feeling (temporary) relief, or they may even be hesitant to seek psychological help due to the stigma around mental health. 


Therapist’s perspective: Whatever the reason may be for not turning up, this can be a disheartening experience for a therapist. However, it does help if the reasons could be communicated to the therapist and they are not left them guessing. 



Discontinuing therapy abruptly


Many times clients discontinue therapy abruptly, with or without notice. It may be that the client didn’t like something the therapist said, they don’t trust their therapist, they feel reluctant to talk about themselves openly, there is no estimated time limit for the treatment, or maybe the client can’t currently afford to pay for therapy. There are also times when clients have unrealistic expectations of therapy, eg. quick results/ progress or hoping for solutions or advice. And so, they could feel disappointed and feel like therapy is not working out for them. On the contrary, they might also believe that they’ve already benefitted from therapy (even if the therapist suggests against it as those benefits could be temporary gains or more progress could be made with more time).


Therapist’s perspective: A therapist could experience feelings of self-doubt, and incompetence. They could also feel rejected as they were hoping to be able to help the client, especially when they know that they would have been able to do so much more for the client. Sometimes, even after explaining in detail how therapy works, clients can still keep holding on to their unrealistic notions about therapy, feel disappointed, and quit which could make a therapist feel frustrated and helpless. 


And while it’s true that not every therapist would be a perfect fit for a client and vice versa, communicating how you felt during the session to your therapist and letting them know the reason(s) why you want to discontinue sessions would give both parties closure and would be a great opportunity to address any misunderstandings or misconceptions. It can also prove to be a learning experience for the therapist so that they can become more effective in their practice.


Lying to your therapist


A lot of times clients lie to their therapists. Maybe once, maybe every time, or anything in between. It’s about the frequency, extent, and intention of those lies. Clients could lie to their therapists because they don’t want to make any changes, or they don’t completely trust their therapist. Sometimes they may also have certain thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that may be hard for them to admit to themselves, let alone sharing them with someone else, so they may lie to themselves too. In relation to this, they might think that their therapist would judge them for the same. Some clients could also have the desire to be liked by their therapist and so they could also be fearful of making their therapist feel bad by giving honest feedback when something isn't working for them, or saying things that they think their therapist would want to hear. 


Therapist’s perspective: Based on the information that the therapist gains from the client (and if possible, their caregivers), the therapist would prepare the therapeutic plan for subsequent sessions. Therapists are trained to understand and work with human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and so they know how to handle difficult or uncomfortable conversations. If the client doesn’t feel ready to share a few things, they can simply convey this to their therapist. Lying to the therapist makes it difficult for them to help you improve and in turn, can make them question their skills, and lower their self-confidence. So, for both parties involved, the more honest and transparent the therapist and client are, the better. 

 Let's respect psychologists and the time they put in for us!