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Myths About Therapy: Therapists Have It Figured Out

It's easy to assume that because therapists have training and experience in solving life’s issues, their own lives are pretty much perfect. It’s an easy assumption to make until you realize that therapists are not educated on what makes a good life, but rather on how to talk to people who are, as Lynn Grodzki puts it, at their “least resourceful”—in other words, people who are at the end of their rope.

Therapists are trained in the conversation of therapy—that’s it. They should never presume to know what will be best for you and your life. Life is too broad and various for that. There may be a best way to peel a carrot or boil an egg, but there is no best way to have a relationship, find a career, form an ethical code, or things like that. It is impossible to have a relationship, career, or ethical code that is based primarily on somebody else’s style or strategy, because these things must necessarily partake of who we are.

“The therapist is only expert in one thing,” I was taught a long time ago by a supervisor, “and that is the process of therapy.” Therapists are not experts at living life, evidenced by the fact that we go to therapy, as well, and not just to learn more about our craft, but because we have issues we’d like to sort through, just like everyone else.

In my own experience, a common result of good therapy is increased independence. This is done through the unique conversation and relationship that takes place with your therapist. Therapy serves as the “secure base,” an open and nonjudgmental environment where you can talk about anything and everything.

In short, therapy is at its best when it helps you live your own life, not when it tells you what to do.

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