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4 Traits that Increase Your Success in Therapy


Picking up that phone to call for a therapy appointment is scary. It is not easy to acknowledge that, despite your best efforts, you need outside help to make the changes in your life. That is why many never reach out. It takes courage and knowledge to start the process. It is not only understanding what you can expect in therapy but also what traits will help you increase your success in therapy. Here are 4 traits that will help increase the success of your therapy.


1. Collaboration

Therapy is a collaborative experience that requires both the client and the therapy to work together. Neither can succeed without the help of the other. We all wish there was a magic wand or pill that would just make everything better, but you will not benefit from therapy if you just show up and ask your therapist to fix everything. On the other side, your therapist will not be able to help if they do not take the time to listen and provide guidance to help you make changes. It takes courage to trust each other enough to work together.


Your therapist will ask you to try new things which will require your cooperation. There is regular check- ins to find out how therapy is working for you so that the therapist can adjust treatment to help you make those crucial changes. You are the only other person in the room, the only one who can provide feedback based on your experiences and thoughts. Collaborating helps you to live the life you want.


2. Openness

Therapy starts with a lot of questions because to understand you and your life, your therapist needs to know what has happened and what is currently happening. It is often scary to sit in a room with a stranger and talk about experiences or emotions that are painful or embarrassing. This is why confidentiality is so important. Part of the collaborative environment is that your therapist provides a space that they keep secure. This creates a space for you to be able to be open and honest. Research has shown that the more we hide our emotions, it grows them and makes them unmanageable. In sharing our emotions, we can reduce the power of it or even change it. Being open about your experiences and sharing them with trusted others, like a therapist, increases the likelihood of you being successful and finding relief.


3. Flexibility

Trying new things can be intimidating but the benefits are often amazing. Research has found that many mental health challenges are characterized by an absence of flexibility or a rigidity in thinking, feeling, and behaving. Taking a step to try the new things your therapist suggests will help you identify and change unhelpful behaviours or thoughts. Then as you develop new skills you will be able to become healthier.


4. Curiosity

Who we are, what we feel and what causes our behaviours are questions that help explore who you are. In therapy, having curiosity about ourselves and others increases compassion rather than judgment. For instance, if you have just lashed out at your partner for filling the dishwasher wrong, it is a different experience to investigate your reaction with curiosity than judge yourself harshly for the outburst.


It is natural for us to judge our actions and learning to observe and understand them requires training and a shift in thinking. This is a skill, that with a therapists help, you will be able to improve over time. But it starts with being willing to be curious. As you learn to look at yourself objectively, you’ll start to have a deeper understanding of self. Then be able to make changes that would have never occurred to you before.


Keeping these 4 traits (collaboration, openness, flexibility, curiosity) in mind when you go to therapy will help you achieve your own success and have the life you wish to live. Enter that room with a willingness to do the hard work of learning and adjusting. Be brave. It is so worth it. You can do it.


Trish Pauls, MA RP

Registered Psychotherapist

HELPPS Psychotherapy Service

www.helpps.ca

519-601-HELP (4357)

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