Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BOOKS! (How to Go to Therapy)

Along with Waiting for Gertrude, I picked up this book at a book sale that the local library was having. I had already been in therapy for months at the time and it was going well, so I didn't technically need this book's advice. But I figured I might as well see what this guide had to offer.

How to Go to Therapy: Making the Most of Professional Help by Carl Sherman

First off, Carl Sherman is not a psychologist, but rather a journalist who specializes in writing about mental health and psychotherapy. So he's knowledgeable, but distanced enough from the field to be able to take a patient-centered (client-centered) approach to explaining and assessing therapy methods. This book is for anyone interested in therapy, from those who are seeking help to those who are just curious on what the whole thing is about.

He does a really concise job first laying out the circumstances in which one might consider therapy, the variety of credentials that a "therapist" could fall under, and rules of conduct. He also goes into the specificities of different forms of therapy, and which methods would best suit what types of patients. Those parts were a little over my head but were still very insightful. But ultimately what comes through the most in this book is that it's all about what you need. It's your mental health and happiness you're dealing with here, so you need to be satisfied with the care that you're receiving. And if you're not, you have every right to seek alternatives because there are plenty out there. Additionally, having a good relationship with your therapist is crucial! If you all don't get along, don't have chemistry, or don't "click", then at some point you're not going to feel like cooperating with them because you either don't like them or don't feel like you can trust them. Of course, you're going to have times when you don't agree with your therapist, and you two shouldn't be too familiar (you're not buddies!). But you do need to have the type of relationship were you trust them and they're able to know you well enough to help you. So if that therapist-patient relationship is no good, the results aren't going to be good either.

I actually feel like I lucked out with Sue because another thing Sherman emphasizes is doing your research and seeking referrals from medical professionals/people you know when looking for a therapist. He advises against just picking a name out of the phone book and going for it without knowing anything about that person, which is basically what I did (except on the Internet). But like I said, it's worked out for me! My point is that this guide is just that, a guide. Everyone's experience will be different and this book is no end-all be-all. Still, it offers a wealth of helpful information that's worth a flip-through.

Favorite quotes:

"Therapy isn't something that's done to you, but something you do for yourself in collaboration with another person. Most of us seek help at a time of uncertainty, when self-confidence is low. At its best the experience confirms our own capacitiesand affirms the power of honesty, courage, and serious effort" (vi).

"Within each person is an 'actualizing tendency'; like a plant seeking the light, at a deep, natural level you have the instinct to move constantly in a constructive direction, toward your highest potential. Emotional problems develop when this drive is stymied or deformed by circumstances... But when the actualizing tendency is given the circumstances to flourish, you resolve your own problems" (89).

No comments:

Post a Comment