John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD

What Therapy Really Is

A therapist cannot change you. He can listen to your deepest concerns; clarify your wishes and wants; help you understand your emotions; challenge your thinking; be objective about your situation; invite exploration; support good efforts; coax you to try, just try; nudge you to stand up for yourself; confront your inconsistencies and irrationalities (gently); ask hard questions; appreciate your strengths; applaud your successes; provide information; teach new skills; worry about you; make direct suggestions; help you understand how dysfunctional beliefs are not serving you; and welcome your presence. But he cannot change you.

Only you can do that.

If you change, it’s because you took action. Maybe a small step here and there, a shift thinking or behavior, a risk, a new pattern. If you change it’s because you experimented with the idea of doing things differently. Maybe instead of fighting your truest, deepest nature, you made peace with it (and yourself). Maybe you treated yourself with love instead of criticism. Maybe you came to believe you were enough, just as you are.

If you change, it’s because you made it happen. You were willing to experience the discomfort that comes with resisting old habits and building news ones.

If you change, it’s because you made it happen, not your therapist.

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