What To Expect In Counseling
Potential benefits of therapy
- Improved understanding of self and others. The objective viewpoint of the therapist helps many clients better understand their own feelings and behavior as well as those of others.
- Progress toward defined goals and objectives. In therapy, the clients and therapist work together to set specific goals and objectives. A way is usually identified to measure progress toward those goals. Most clients can clearly identify the changes in feelings and behavior that they make through therapy.
- Greater sense of control over moods and behavior. As clients measure progress and identify the tools used to make headway, they often gain feelings of power over moods and behavior.
- Improved self-esteem. With greater self-control, clients often improve their self-concept. Confronting and managing one’s difficulties often leads to improved self-esteem.
- Improved self-assertion. Many clients increase their ability to assert themselves. As self-esteem and feelings of self-control improve, they feel more able to stand up for their own rights without infringing on the rights of others.
- Improved relationships with others. By reducing unwanted behaviors and increasing more desirable behaviors, clients often improve relationships with family members or co-workers or friends.
- Improved capacity for independence. Before therapy many of my clients may have depended on others for their sense of well-being. Therapy may lead to an increased ability to meet one’s own needs.
Potential risks of therapy
- Lack of progress. Some clients do not appear to improve in therapy. For example, depression or anxiety may become worse. I will monitor your progress with you to determine if this happens and to plan alternatives should this occur. In some cases I may recommend a different form of care or may suggest care by another provider or provide referrals to other providers.
- Upsetting insight. Therapy may lead to insight into your own behavior or the behavior of others that is upsetting. Some clients, following therapy, wish they had not discovered some things about themselves or others. Of course, once you are aware of new information, there is no going back. I will monitor your feelings with you and discuss these concerns if they arise.
- Feelings of distress. Discussing personal concerns can be upsetting by itself. Clients may experience feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, or depression in talking about their personal or family difficulties. Clients may also have bad dreams or nightmares as a result of talking about concerns. Part of therapy often involved learning to handle such feelings more effectively when they occur. I will work with you to develop coping strategies for these feelings if they arise.
- Change in relationships. Although behaviors and moods may change in a way that the client desires, others may not like the changes and may not adjust to the changes the client makes. Improvements in client’s self-esteem, self-assertion, or sense of self-control may negatively affect others. Verbal therapy can lead to conflict in marriage or other family relationships. Sexual relationships can deteriorate. Sometimes verbal therapy can lead to divorce. Therapy may also lead, in rare cases, to deterioration of relationships at work and can result in the loss of a job. In some cases the client decides to make changes in the family, to seek divorce, or to change jobs. However, other individuals with whom the client has a relationship may initiate changes when the client does not want to do so. I will work closely with you to try to anticipate such problems in therapy. However, we cannot anticipate all interpersonal conflicts that may result from therapy.