Being a therapist sounds pretty easy, right? I hear that sometimes. How hard can it be to plop down in your chair, listen to someone talk for an hour, nod your head a few times, and maybe check in on how whatever it is they are talking about makes them feel every once in a while? Well, its really not quite that simple...unless you're just not a very involved or helpful therapist. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot to be said about the power of just being heard - in providing a nonjudgmental place for people to share their stories...their loss, their trauma, their suffering, their ups, and their downs....their wins and accomplishments... I won't discount that for a moment....but for a therapist who really wants to help, it's not as simple as just listening. It's about really actively listening. It's about trying to get a deep understanding of what's going on. It's about helping people untangle their thoughts and understand the complexity of themselves. It's about continuing to learn and to grow...It's about helping people "connect dots" with a deep level of curiosity and trying to figure out what it is that will help someone really heal...and that's hard work that takes about every ounce of energy and attention available. That, and outside of that sacred 50 minutes, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that many people who are not therapists aren't aware of. The time you reserve and pay for often extends far beyond the hour we spend together.
If you're looking for a Counselor in Tampa - or anywhere for that matter - it can be hard to know where to start. It's an overwhelming task. Look up therapists near me in the Tampa Bay area on Psychology Today directory and you'll get close to ONE THOUSAND results. Because there's a lot of filtering to be done, it can be helpful to get clear on a few things and to know what you're looking for before you begin. Here are a few questions to ask yourself and to answer to help you get started.
So when it comes to therapy, there are several different modalities (or approaches). Different therapists tend to gravitate to different styles and theories. Psychoanalytic therapy, for example, is an approach of therapy that focuses more on the subconscious mind and past experiences as a way of better understanding who we are and why we do what we do. Solution-Focused Therapy, on the other hand, focuses more on the present and future, what's working, what's not working, and goals designed to change thinking and behaviors. There are many other counseling theories/approaches that I won't get into here today - as I'll be more focused on types of therapy in a more general sense. If you're looking into working with a therapist, though, it's good to get an idea of the different theoretic orientations (See more about that here) and to understand the approach your potential therapist might take in order to find the best fit for you. It's not uncommon for therapists to alter their style or to switch between different methods depending on what you might need. Some therapists consider themselves "eclectic" in this sense - deriving ideas from a broad range of sources.
Being a therapist is hard work. Not always, though. Sometimes someone I really "get" makes everything in the therapeutic process effortlessly align. I know exactly what the person in front of me needs to hear. I know exactly what it is that will help - and the person I'm working with just runs with it. Other times, not so much. I'm confronted with challenges, things I've never heard before, and struggle to find the right words. The fact of the matter is that we're all pretty complex beings - none of our histories or situations exactly like anybody else's. I dig deep into my therapy "tool box", consult with other professionals, scour resources, and create intricate individualized treatment plans...all with the goal of ultimately helping someone put together the intricate puzzle of their minds and lives. It's hard as hell at times...but man is it rewarding when everything finally comes together...when the collaborative work I'm doing with someone over weeks or months finally starts to pay off. As hard as it can be, there are so many things I absolutely love about this profession...and I can't imagine doing anything else in the world.
Therapy is an interesting thing. The therapeutic relationship between therapist and client - unique and unlike any other relationship. We share about our past, our secrets, our fears, struggles, and our hopes and dreams...It's one of the few places we can go where no topic is off limits or too taboo. Your therapist, non judgmental and acting with "unconditional positive regard" for you, provides not only an active listening ear, but acts to be as objective and unbiased as might be possible in their feedback to you. They promote healing and growth, and sometimes take you to uncomfortable places - all within one of the safest and most protected of spaces...and even though there's no direction you can go that your therapist should not be open to exploring within the context of healthy boundaries, some things are hard to talk about in Therapy. As with life and with our personal relationships outside of therapy, it's often the difficult conversations that we can be most tempted to avoid - as important as they might be.
Leaving things unsaid in therapy can create barriers that make it difficult to move forward or to get the kind of progress you ultimately want to see. Here are a few things that are important to bring up to your therapist - even if they're hard to talk about. Conflict-avoidance is one of the most common issues people struggle with (and that we see in therapy), so working through these things in therapy will ultimately help you practice the kind of communication you want to have in your personal life and often prove beneficial to the therapy process.
If you're looking for a Counselor in Tampa - or anywhere for that matter - it can be hard to know where to start. It's …