I have spent a lot of time discussing therapy with mental health professionals like Jonathan Levy LCSW of Chicago, IL. My interest often lies in what makes mental health professionals tick and what aspects of their job make it all worth while. The conversation gradually drifted to what things they really like to hear from clients they have been working with in therapy. This is that list.
NOTE: This list is not posted so that people can memorize the main points and work them into their sessions to score brownie points with their therapist. This would not only be weird, but would waste your time and your therapists time on that session.
1. I disagree with you… Standing your ground and stating that you disagree with them shows your confidence, and that you are analyzing the feedback and applying it effectively. If it does not help, it is good that you speak up because therapists like Jonathan Levy LCSW want to hear what you think and that have you the skills to be self-reliant.
2. I hate that you… People tend to point out things they hate about others because it is what they hate about themselves. When this is said it effectively tilts your hand to the therapist and gives them really good things to concentrate on. If the client is able to express such strong feelings about their therapist, yet stick around to work on it. That is a very good sign that real changes can be made.
3. I found that I… This type of statement shows the therapist that you are working outside of therapy by applying some of the knowledge you have gained from your therapeutic sessions. Therapy is so much more than simply showing up for your sessions. These sessions should establish a framework and then the patient heads out into the world and attempts to apply this framework to their life.
4. This may sound crazy, but this just popped in my head… The mind will make connections to random things that seemingly have no relevance to what is immediately being discussed. However, in the therapeutic space, everything has potential relevance to professionals like Jonathan Levy LCSW. So if something pops into your head, talk about it. Your mind knows that it’s at therapy to become more self-aware and will do what it can to help you. Don’t ignore things because you feel a little uncomfortable about them — bring them up and see where it goes.
5. I think I am ready to move on… When you have spent considerable time with a therapist the person becomes an important part of your life. There are times that the transition to leaving a therapist is quite easy; perhaps you had a specific issue you wanted to address or you are moving to another state. However, sometimes the decision to move on just has to do with a feeling of readiness. You know the therapist will always be there if you need them, and right now you do not need them in the same way. It can be a scary feeling to move on, or sometimes we just get used to the routine and do not think about the option ever.
The importance of this article is that it provides insight into what genuine progress sounds like in therapy. Use these as benchmarks only, but work toward these making it into your therapy sessions organically.