Getting the most from psychotherapy
Starting psychotherapy can feel intimidating. How do you make the most of the experience? Here are some suggestions:
Tell Your Therapist About Your Expectations
If you attend therapy expecting to go back to your childhood to find the roots of the problem and I’m focusing on the present, you’re likely to be frustrated if that expectation isn’t brought up and discussed before you proceed. Also, you might indicate how long you had anticipated you would attend therapy, and how often, to make sure you and I are on the same track. Tell Your Therapist What Works and Has Worked for You in the past Each of us is unique. You can help your therapist by teaching him the style and questions he uses that works best for you. That does not mean that you run the therapy. The therapist does have some expertise and good reasons for doing what he is doing, but a good therapist also has some room for flexibility. If you have been in counseling before and found some aspect or method particularly helpful, let me know about that.
Let Your Therapist Know When He Does Something Right
Therapy can be a difficult and challenging field of work. I see people when they are at their most stressed, and sometimes most impatient. Sometimes I ¬don’t know whether I’ve been helpful, because people don’t return or change takes some time. I appreciate hearing that I have done something that worked or was helpful. This can also make your therapy experience more productive, since I will have your feedback to guide me in future attempts to help you.
Tell Your Therapist What Doesn’t Work
Like telling your therapist your expectations and letting me know what has worked or is helping, letting me know when something isn’t helping is important. This includes what is happening at home as well as during your therapy sessions. This gives the opportunity for mid-course corrections in the therapy process.
Tell Your Therapist Your Objections
Some people think that they ¬shouldn’t speak up about their worries or objections to their therapist’s suggestions, but a free and frank discussion about any misgiving helps me deal with your concerns and make any adjustments to ensure a higher likelihood of success. Ask Questions About the therapy process, fees, any suggestions or methods, my training and qualifications, etc. Anything you are curious about. If it gets too personal or if I consider the questions intrusive or inappropriate, I will let you know, but I want you to be an informed participant in the process.
Demand That Your Therapist Speak Everyday English
All professions have jargon and buzzwords. If your therapist suggests an MMPI to check out whether you have MPD or ADHD, you have a perfect right to have a translation into language you understand.
I am a professional counselor licensed by the State of Georgia for more than 25 years, I provide both individual therapy and couples counseling to all sorts of people. I have a Master of Science degree in clinical psychology from Purdue University. I am a member of the American Counseling Association. My approach is nonjudgmental and compassionate. One of the great things about being in Atlanta is the opportunity to work with a very diverse community – busy professionals, people of varied economic, ethnic or racial backgrounds, LGBT men and women, people who have relationships or sexual interests that come in all varieties. Our work together is determined by your goals, not a per-conceived or one-size-fits-all approach to emotional health. Good therapy goes beyond just listening and support. I am engaged with my clients to help them gain greater self-understanding and make the changes that make life better. I limit the number of clients I work with so I can provide each person with the best possible care and attention. My intention is to keep us focused on your goals, which helps make therapy more effective. I invite you to explore the articles I’ve written on topics many of my clients have brought to therapy. And whether you choose to work with me or not, you may want to look at my recommendations for getting the most from psychotherapy. If you want to talk with me about working together, I’m happy to answer your questions.
Hours by appointment only.
John R. Ballew, M.S.
537 Linwood Ave., NE
Atlanta, GA 30306