Written by Dr. Eric Perry, PhD
Image Credit: Pixabay
“The end of confession is, to tell the truth to and for oneself.” ~J. M. Coetzee
I am frequently asked by potential patients, what they should expect from therapy. The answer to this largely depends on you. Therapy is a powerful tool that can provide you with life-changing insights into why you do certain things. The benefits are immeasurable, but therapy is not a one size fits all approach. What you will gain from therapy will have a lot to do with your specific and unique goals. The therapy room should be a safe space for healing, growth and exploration of your mental health goals. It is a judgment-free place for you to work on something in your life that is causing you difficulty.
My profession is mainly about connection. It is about how I connect with my patients and how I help them connect with themselves. I feel that it is my duty as a clinician to only work with individuals that I feel I can help. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with other clinicians and I have had patients come to me after spending a considerable amount of time without seeing much progress. It is of vital importance that you connect with your therapist and that you establish a therapeutic alliance. You both need to be in agreement as to the goals of therapy. Think of your therapist as your mental health advocate.
The relationship between a patient and therapist is one that is rooted in mutual respect, care and confidentiality. Besides some exceptions that I am required by law to report such as future self-harm and harm to others, the majority of communication between me and a patient is confidential. The duty of confidentiality is a legal and ethical one that I must keep. This protected communication is very much like a confession.
When you enter the room and sit across from me, you must feel safe and secure in order to explore and process your emotions. I am there to safely guide you and to bear witness to your inner truths. The therapy room is somewhat like a confessional where you seek comfort and guidance as you share the current challenges in your life and with the help of your therapist, work towards a resolution. This sacred space is created by you and your therapist. The safety of this space is of utmost importance. The patient is in control; revealing as much or as little as they need. I am there to hold the space and to create a safe environment.
In my practice, I follow a structured treatment plan that is based on a solution-focused approach, which I use to guide my patients from and through past wounds to a healthier path. I am present to provide the necessary tools to overcome what you may have been suppressing. In my experience, people hide things from themselves when they are not ready to assume responsibility. My presence is necessary for accountability in order to make sure you are following through with your responsibilities.
It is important to point out that therapy is not just for moments of crisis. I believe therapy is important for everyday life. I personally see a therapist in order to maintain my own mental health. The example I often use is that you don’t stop going to the gym once you become physically healthy. You continue to go to the gym in order to maintain your health.
By seeing my own therapist, I am ensuring that I never forget the feeling of vulnerability that accompanies sitting in the sacred space of therapy.
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear about your experience with therapy.
The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a therapeutic relationship with the reader. This blog does not replace or substitute the help of a mental health professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific mental health questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances.
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
M.A. in Clinical Psychology
B.A. in Psychology
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