One Great Reason Not to Waste Your Time in Therapy

Date Posted: August 18, 2014
One Great Reason Not to Waste Your Time in Therapy

I see recovering codependents who are in therapy frequently get frustrated because they have the fantasy that investing time and money in therapy will guarantee they get what they want in the material world. These codependents come to therapy with the secret wish that therapy will solve all their problems and garner more money, power, property, love, or prestige in the outside world. They expect material gains rather than the deepening of their relationship with themselves on the inside. Although I want to keep my clients happy, hopeful, and optimistic about their power to make changes in their lives, I am wary of misrepresenting what therapy can do for them. So, let's get something straight: clinicians aren't magicians. They don't have magic wands. They are in the business of clearing away illusions, not creating them, decorating them, or co-signing them.

In line with this, don't come to therapy expecting that you will find a husband or wife.

Susan's Story

Susan (not her real name), was 36 years old and single when I first met her, and worked at a high-powered job that amplified her aggressive and dominant tendencies. It soon became apparent that she expected our conversations to guarantee she would leave therapy arm-in-arm with the boyfriend of her dreams. Fortunately for Susan, she was very smart, and was willing to swallow some pretty tough reality sandwiches that came up in session. In therapy, she learned to face what she could control by being less competitive and aggressive and by not getting so easily caught in power struggles. She focused more on creating true connections with people. She realized her insights in therapy could not guarantee she would meet someone she wanted to be involved with, or that she wouldn't remain single. Paradoxically, after six months of weekly sessions, and after accepting that she might remain single, she became involved with a man who she previously would never have considered "her type." They were engaged a year after meeting each other, and have two beautiful children.

What to Expect from Therapy

Therapy should be able to promise you a safe environment to explore what it takes to establish a robust internal relationship with yourself, and hopefully with others. It should show you ways of successfully coping with, rather than just surviving, whatever circumstances you find yourself in. If you are talking to a therapist who is helping you identify new and better ways to cope with whatever life is handing you, then the hours you spend together are well spent.

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