What does modern therapy look like?
Updated: May 20
Time and time again, I have new clients reach out and share they’ve never been to therapy. Since they’ve only ever seen how it’s portrayed in media, they want to know what it’s like. That’s a valid concern! Therapy is new, weird and even a bit scary. So let’s have a conversation about what therapy looks like and the specific experience with me.
First, communicate. Send an email, or call, then I will arrange a 15 minute phone consultation.
Finding a therapist isn’t easy. By the end of the phone consultation if we feel we are a good match, we can schedule an intake session right there on the phone.
I may choose not to schedule with just anyone for many reasons:
1. We don’t vibe well
2. Your specific needs my be out of my scope of competency
3. I know someone who will be a better fit for you and your needs
I am not the right therapist for everyone, but I am the right therapist for someone.
Laying on a couch
While I have a couch in my office, you don’t have to lay on it. Honestly, I’ve never had a client lay on the couch, but you’re welcome to, if that’s what you need for the session.
Ink blots? Freud?
I’m sure someone used ink blots, but I definitely do not. What many people think of therapy is, in essence, “outdated.” If you come in asking about Freud, but I won’t be able to have much of a conversation. While I know he has influenced the industry, I haven’t studied any of his work since Psych 101 my freshman year of college.
Therapy has come a long way since the 1800’s. Even more so since the middle of the 1900's.
I am constantly learning new ways to help clients through continuing education classes and my own curiosities. So don’t worry, I won’t be using old, disproven methods in our treatment.
Doesn’t therapy take years?
If you’re thinking back to Freud, yes I can see where the idea originates. Psychoanalytics was designed to be a lifelong endeavor. Luckily for you I don't use psychoanalytics. My goal is to get you to a point in which you no longer need me . That doesn’t mean you can’t come back. You’re always welcome to start therapy again any time.
There are some people who do need time-long therapy, but that can be for many different reasons or issues. Sometimes, you and a therapist hit a point where there is nothing else you two can do together. And, that’s okay.
Sometimes, we have ended our journey and need to start a new journey with another therapist.
Therapy is the one place you don’t have to have it all together. You can cry, swear, and get it all off your chest. Then we get the fun job of processing through it and discover healthier ways of coping.
Sometimes in media the therapist is portrayed in a parental “mom” or “dad” roll. That’s not acceptable, nor accurate to how therapy progresses. As therapist and client, we have a professional relationship and not a parental relationship.
While therapy covers incredibly personal things, it remains professional so no boundaries are crossed. This is for the safety of the patient and for me as a therapist.
Giving advice/ life coaching:
One of the first thing I tell clients is that this isn’t going to be me giving advice. I am clinically trained in current therapeutic theories.
As I learn about your and your personal culture, I tailor these theories and strategies to you as a person. You’re the expert in your life and I’m here to guide therapeutic conversations.
Yelling at you for not making changes:
The number of times I’ve seen a media “therapist” yelling at a client…NO! Not how that works. It’s shaming and unprofessional.
We understand change is hard, but that’s why we meet where you’re at in life to help make the changes you want.
Yes, it may mean a million baby steps to reach our goals. Nothing happens overnight, and you’re going to make mistakes. A therapist shouldn’t yell because progress is taking time.
Therapists are often portrayed to look very serious and kind of dramatic in media. The music selection in those scenes rarely help. Clients are surprised how much of the emotional spectrum is coved in therapy. I’ve laughed with clients. I’ve cried with clients. I’ve celebrated huge wins with clients and their losses. Therapy is full of ups and downs, and it’s not always a life changing epiphany every week.
Hopefully, this helps shed light on how therapy really goes down. We talk, we cry, we swear, but most of all we grow and heal as people in therapy. Therapy can be scary and weird in the beginning. It’s so unique to each client, it’s near impossible to put words to what it will look like, so I hope this helps debunk some of the misinterpretations we see in the media.
If you are interested in therapy, I am located in the KC metro for in person session or telehealth services.