"Our business is to get out of business" Christine Padesky
The old comfortable baroque sofa is out. In are the new modern or contemporary chairs. The hanging intricate chandeliers are replaced with sleek standing lamps. Not a wooden carved table, but a glass table with transparency is at the center of design in healing. The pen and paper have changed hands from the therapist to the client. The therapist no more plays the role of a god but a fallible human being in the therapy. A lot has changed in last 50 years. Except for the perception of a psychologist or a psychotherapist. They are no more I listen to everything like a soundboard. A psychologist now expresses, collaborates, questions and also interrupts.
Let's look at some new things that happen behind those soundproof glass doors today:
1. Make you, your own therapist:
"Teach man fishing, and you feed him for life" - Maimonides
Clients ask "will this resolve all my problems? or will therapy work?" Frankly, therapies don't work. You have to make them work. You have to put energy and efforts for it to work. It's like entropy. The new job of a psychologist or a psychotherapist is not only to get you out of your issues and current problems. The task now extends also to prepare you if another similar problem arises. There are no throwaway solutions, now they get discovered with guidance. Therapy now is making a new therapist. As Padesky puts it, "Our goal as therapists is to teach our clients a process of evaluating their goals, thoughts, behaviours, and moods so that they can learn methods for improving their lives for many years to come". Yes, many years to come. So next time look for a teaching therapist. The one who teaches you to fish.
2. New therapy doesn't end in 45 Minutes:
"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action." - Herbert Spencer
You will be out of the therapist's office in an hour, but the rest of the time you carry therapy with you. The new therapy is complimented with an action plan. You have to work on some things that might be thoughts, feelings, people or some action. You do exercises, work on worksheets or become your own therapist for the rest of the week. This is more like a homework, but fun and interesting. A good action plan will make you contemplate a little bit, but also courageous enough to do it. Working on your action plan is a new way to get out of your cluttered thoughts and manage feelings. You achieve goals and come with new goals to achieve more next time.
3. A new therapist doesn't buy everything you say:
"Interruption causes learning" - Guru Shivakamat
The new therapist is not on a shopping spree with his/ her bag to buy everything you say. She/ he is direct, has a certain kind of empathic compassion not sympathetic understanding. She interrupts skillfully. A modern-day stoic Socrates to be precise. Concretises abstractions and abstracts the rigid. Makes you measure your own judgments and thinking. The new therapist not only listens and take notes, she questions. Thinking is driven by questions. They rather make you think and write about it. They experiment inside and outside of the session. They collaborate with you and support to reach the goal of the session as well as therapy. Bottom line, they stop the cycle that keeps you there. They interrupt the old process that's giving you old results.
These are only some process that happens in the new therapy. Every therapist has customized his / her own style, language and stance. You might be grasped with a disorder or short-term distress. Mostly you have reached a point by developing yourself and need to go higher. It's no more difficult to get a therapist, she/ he might just be available in your own office. They may be in that building around the corner or a click away on your phone App. This cycle of distress can be stopped with a minor effort. Stop it. And give yourself a Chance.
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