I know from the title you can already guess what will be written in the next few paragraphs. But let me surprise you with a few facts…
- Your therapist should not be your friend
• Don’t get me wrong. I do not mean you cannot get sound advice from your friend or that you cannot be friends with your therapist. However, having a close friend as your therapist can sometimes not help. Countless studies and research has shown that our friends may not be as objective as a therapist. Food for thought perhaps?
- Therapists and a bunch of mean money-hungry human beings
• Sounds harsh right? Shockingly that is how some people think of us. Maybe this notion has been accelerated by the movies we grew up watching, perhaps. But that is a topic for another day. While that is how we may seem, that is actually quite the opposite. We are trained to treat everyone with kindness and respect, to serve humanity first. The aspect of making money is just a plus.
- Whatever you tell your therapist will be known.
• Now that is for a fact not true. We are bound by secrecy or what we call confidentiality. That means whatever goes on in a therapy session stays between you(the client/patient) and me (the therapist/psychologist/counselor)
• But what if I confess a crime? Now that is a whole other matter. There are some circumstances that can make a therapist breach confidentiality and they are;
(i) if the client has stated intentions to harm others
(ii) if the client has intentions to harm self
However let me add that before the confidentiality is breached, the client is usually made aware of this clause in the introductory session and the therapist usually discusses this with their supervisor. So your secrets are otherwise very safe with us (winks)
- Your therapist tells you what to do with your life.
• It is difficult to tell a whole human being what to do. However one of the goals of therapy is to identify areas of dysfunctionality in your life and together come up with skills to help you sort out the mess. Now this however depends on a lot of factors like the nature/ degree of the challenge (note I said challenge, not a problem), level of willingness to change, family support, presence of a disorder such as substance abuse, or any other mental health-related issue among others
Bonus tip: even machines need servicing from time to time. Seeing a therapist or even thinking about seeing one (sometimes two), get the help. It will not make you any less of a human. If you, a loved one, a friend, or a colleague need do not be afraid to approach one or reach out to us. Until next time folks!