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  • Writer's pictureAndrew

On Expectations

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

As a therapist, I do my best to facilitate growth and positive change, but the client has to do the work and make the changes once a session has finished.

It's not uncommon for people to assume a therapist is supposed to "fix" them. Doctors may be able to fix broken bones, but therapists can not "fix" an individual's mental state. They may be able to provide helpful tools in collaboration with a client in an environment that promotes healing and growth, but that only happens with independent work by the individual.

Therapy is not done to someone; it happens with them.

It is easy to understand there are many situations in which people may feel therapists have, in whatever way, failed them. Sometimes, a person's fight/flight response kicks in, leading to premature termination of therapy, having been triggered in whichever way by a part of the process. However, once treatment is terminated, the opportunity to get the therapist's help in understanding what is going on for them is likely to be lost.

We can help find a path forward but I cannot walk it for you.

This isn't to say therapists always do good work. They don't. They are human with flaws like anyone else. Some may even be just incompetent. Ultimately, your mileage may vary in what can be gotten out of a therapist at any given time. However, managing those expectations and exploring them with your therapist can be insightful as an addition to the original purpose of the therapy and highly valuable in its own right. We all have our own needs and understanding them and their function helps us not only meet them but not be enslaved by them.

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