Millions of people in the United States are affected by mental disorders each year. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], one in five U.S adults experience mental illness each year and one in 25 experiences serious mental illness each year. This has made many people to look for professional counseling.
Unfortunately, some people have had bad experiences when it comes to counseling. This doesn’t mean you should give up. Counseling has worked for many people because in most cases, you only deal with trained professionals. You need to find the right therapist to connect with since counseling is a highly intimate experience and it requires high level of confidentiality. On a side note: perhaps that’s why many people are trying new counseling options?
In any event, the following are some of the most crucial things you should expect from a good counseling session.
Good therapy does not promote friendship
There is a difference between therapy and friendship. You can do business with your friends or borrow money from each other. But when it comes to your therapist, the only thing you can do is therapy. The therapist may be friendly, but that doesn’t mean that he or she has be your friend. Friendship also doesn’t have a plan or goal beyond its existence. You can go out with your friends just to have fun or because you aren’t busy. But you cannot hang out with your therapist. Therapy has a purpose. It moves deliberately towards one or more goals.
Good therapy establishes the client’s basic human dignity
Therapy aims to improve mental health and work toward a solution. However, mental health is not a destination or an end itself; rather, it is a process that you adopt and use to pursue your chosen goals. Good therapy concerns itself with judgments, but it is not about judging people. People who come for therapy have been judged cruelly by themselves, their spouses, peers, neighbors, and even society at large. They may also have received plenty of advice.
Therefore, a great therapist shouldn’t dwell on the judgment and advice. And honestly, that’s not what people with mental illnesses come to therapy to find. They come for healing. They need understanding, acceptance, attention, and encouragement.
Good therapy should be evidence-based
Professional therapy is all about keeping records, generating hypothesis, and testing them. Even though therapy aims to promote hope and nurture the expectations, its promises are tied to facts. If your therapist guarantees success, that should indicate a red flag. What your therapist suggests to you – the course of action and the explanations, should be scientifically proven. Good therapy shouldn’t contradict scientific data or evidence.
Good therapy should consider your history and biography
Therapy should not just focus on the current moments; instead, it should give room for biography. The past may not be the only key, but it can be a key to the present. Even though some therapists may not focus on it, they must acknowledge it. Everybody has a past, and your past can have implications for where you are or who you are. Your biography can provide a map of your experiential field; it can make it easy to understand your behavior.