Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Three Steps to Better Therapy

I was surprised to read on the combox of my post “9 rules for surviving therapy” how many readers are unsatisfied with their therapy. Here’s an article by Jennifer Bechdel of Psych Central that touches on a few steps to establish better relationship with your counselor:
1) If you feel as though your therapist is “off-course” with his/her approach or treatment suggestions, be direct; discuss your concerns with your therapist right away. Therapists are human and therefore subject to make errors in judgment just like the rest of us.
2) If your therapist makes a suggestion you don’t like, such as a medication or treatment you don’t agree with, make sure to get all the information about the suggestion before completely discounting it.
3) Once your therapist’s suggestions have been completely laid out, if you still don’t agree, you may have the option to invite a second therapist into the sessions to act as a consultant. This consultant would work with the primary therapist and yourself in order to establish a more collaborative relationship. Once the conflict is resolved, the consultant would discontinue coming to the sessions and you and your therapist will continue working together.
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  • Robert

    in over 20 years of therapy I have yet to meet with 1 therapist who wasn’t into the “phobia of the moment” ie, “your father abused yoy therefore you must be sufferring a great deal” or a therapist who didn’t just want to throw medications at “your problem, after all his close was full of sanples supplied freely by pharmetical reps!


    Hi Robert,
    I couldn’t agree more with your general comment re many therapists. Last year I paid out-of-pocket, after months researching talent for my young adult son, not finding suitable matches within my nehavioral health coverage – so selected out of network, paid cash.
    Otherwise very bright and socially gregarious, I watched him struggle emotionally for years, scarred/hurt since youth by an alcoholic, negligent dad. My daughter effectively self-resolved communication with her father by early teens, but older brother had persistent, lingering, built up hostility. No physical abusive, and he made a good living – the deficit was continual let downs, little quality attention, constant calls while drinking after work, on weekends).
    The highly acclaimed PsychD, and by all accounts kind, intelligent, properly accredited, seemed a good fit. Sessions were confidential, of course. I never asked my 24-yr-old about specifics. He did, however, regularly offer certain commentary – that Dr._____ often said “because I resemble dad physically, mom, whenever you look at me, you see him and this is the root of the problem.”
    Couldn’t be further from the truth, and signifies to me, their therapy discussion often centered on pat, text book generalizations.
    Regrettably, after 10 sessions or so, depleting my single mom resources, I fear my son merely clammed up during most meetings, and little occurred exploring the true crux of his often debilitating, latent anger.
    Now, wish I’d encouraged him to speak up if he disagreed, or felt discussion wasn’t truly on point. Perhaps he gained some insight, but I don’t think, on balance, we received high value for cost. These few tips today better prepare me to ‘prep’ the kids about their role (and rights) in future sessions, if necessary. Kim

  • Anne

    I am 58 years old and seeing a therapist. We don’t discuss my past or childhood unless I bring it up and that is fine by me. What I need at this point in my life is someone to confide in about what is going on now and whether I can handle it. I am bipolar and/or schizophrenic but my medication seems to keep me on an even keel. But I am not good when multiple kinds of stress appear at the same time. I need someone to talk to about that when it happens. I am sure that discussing childhood ills has its place but at some point in time it becomes better to focus on the present and coping skills. My therapist helps me do that.

  • Callie

    I really like these three points but I’m bummed. My link to the ‘9 rules for surviving therapy’ is gone and I can’t locate the article. Everytime I feel like giving up on therapy, I click on that link and read it and I then proceed to show up for my next session. Luckily I printed out a copy last month and keep it in my purse but I don’t like people to see me reading that all the time. Is the article still there? Help?

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