By: Ema Gavrilovic
What is it like to commit to therapy? Same as committing to anything else in life! Committing to therapy sessions can seem daunting at first. In fact, stepping foot into an unknown office room for the next hour may be a challenge for a lot of people! As the first session comes to a close, the once hesitant person has slowly relaxed into the warm environment with the welcoming therapist. This wasn’t so bad, the new client thinks. After the session’s completion, the client books another appointment for the same day, same time and same place for the following week.
Sticking with therapy can offer a learning environment for people to improve their demeanor, attitude about situations, and behavior in everyday settings. It is also beneficial to people who feel like they need to vent to another human being, or work through stress or unresolved, past issues. Of course, getting to know the therapist and getting to truly know oneself takes patient time. Therefore, the more dedicated one is to attending weekly sessions (the give), or even biweekly check-ins, the more gain the person receives back from those all hours in the therapy room. In the end, to stick with therapy sessions means to lead a higher quality insightful sense of living and being!
Sometimes, it is not unheard of for people to gain insight into their problems within one or two therapy sessions. Brief therapy and solution-focused therapy theories work best with people coming in on already pre-determined issues that require a “quick fix,” or who come in with limited time. Oftentimes, school children who seek counseling during the school day are the ones who benefit from this quick approach. However, for most people who seek therapy, they are working towards larger goals, and naturally, these goals take time to attain. One issue may not be just a quick fix after all. Usually, the issue requires attention and dedication to seeing to it on a longer-term basis.
Oftentimes, an issue that constitutes as a quick fix is actually a deeper issue lurking behind it, one that hasn’t had a chance to erupt fully and is showing thinly only through these smaller, surface-level issues. It is not uncommon for people to come in with these surface-level issues, such as, their workload is too heavy, so they feel stressed, or maybe it’s they wake up too many times during the night. Issues such as these may appear surface level. What’s really at the root of them? Sure, maybe the workload is too much, or they “always” had sleeping problems, but what if it’s something more? Perhaps the heavy workload is the result of taking extra time to care for one’s elderly parents. Maybe the sleeping issue is due to a past incidence of something scary or bad happening when the person was trying to fall asleep, so now it’s more difficult to rest one’s head at night. Uncovering issues takes time, patience, and diligence. Unpeeling different layers of themselves, just like an onion unpeeling, is a process to truly uncover what lies hidden beneath the layers.
Especially when it comes to those who come in for therapy to process trauma from a long time ago, or any past events they never found closure for, unraveling all the pieces associated with the negative event can a long, long time. It may be weeks for some, but for others, it may be months or even years of weekly therapy for them to feel like themselves again from the terrible occurrence. From my own experience in working with teens carrying past trauma, we found it helpful for us to first learn and review about trauma in general and what this word means to them in general.
The one thing to remember is that it’s a process. Only after are the clients usually comfortable enough to take their past experiences and bravely uncover them out loud (to the therapist) and inch closer to working through the trauma. Realizing that this past event occurred and acknowledging it means a commitment to weekly, or sometimes multiple times a week sessions. In other words, sticking with therapy means wading through lots of years-stored up toxic energy that people must first understand the “what” before going into the “how” and then into the “why” of their present selves.
Therapy is a process. And just like training in other areas of life, whether that be in playing sports, in creating art, or in memorizing an instrument’s chords, remembering to “train” the mind to receive ideas over time can be an adjustment, but certainly the adjustment will come naturally, as did the commitment to sports, to art, to the musical instrument. The therapy process takes time. And sure, it is a commitment. It is a challenge to find yet another time slot in one’s busy lifestyle for yet another therapy or “training” session. The end goal, however, is worth it. The attitude to commit to change is the pre-cursor to starting life-changing goals, and to achieving them, step by step.
Usually, in therapy, it’s important to brainstorm and set goals with the therapist. Working to get to those goals over the weeks is a journey. Usually, a pre-determined amount of sessions is usually discussed upfront, and while this can vary from even one session to year-long sessions, the average eight sessions before a formal goal check-in is beneficial. From week to week, for eight weeks, regularly, leaning onto this commitment and maintaining session times is the positive way to reaching those goals set in the first session.
If you are new to Owens & Associates Counseling & Therapy Center, LLC and would like to schedule a complimentary 15 minute telephone or video consultation, feel free to call us at (847) 854-4333. Also, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call! We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at any of our wonderful office locations.