When I was a teen, around 13 or 14 years old, my best friend was going to therapy. She was struggling with some things and had been going for a few years. Oh how I envied her! I was going through things too! And she had gained such self-confidence and a level of inner strength I admired. But I never brought it up with my parents and they never brought it up to me. The idea was too scary.
It never occurred to me at that time, that there are good therapists and not so good therapists. I guess I assumed all therapy was good, helpful. So I encourage you to hop over to the goodtherapy blog and read 50 Signs of Good Therapy. It’s a great guide.
My friend’s therapy seemed helpful to her. She had no idea that I was also getting “good therapy” by learning things from our occasional talks about her therapy. One of those things was life changing for me. Do you hear me? Life. Changing.
What I learned was this: All feelings are okay.
Yup, that’s it. All feelings are valid. There were no bad feelings and I was allowed to have any feeling I had. They belonged to me and they weren’t right or wrong, they just were. I was allowed to be mad. I was allowed to feel sad. No one could tell me I shouldn’t feel that way. (Although I felt I often was). So, I took this little revelation and internalized it. I no longer felt shame for feeling the way I did. I no longer got angry for being told how not to feel. I actually owned my feelings. I felt validated. I felt better. I benefited from good therapy that didn’t even belong to me. How about that? Life. Changing.
Since entering the professional world, I’ve seen and heard about a lot of bad therapy. A lot. And the bottom line is, therapy has to feel good to you. It has to fit your needs. It should feel like it’s going somewhere. It should feel genuine. And if you don’t feel satisfied in your treatment, you have every right to change therapists. There are lots of therapists who offer good therapy. Read the guide and use the information to get the treatment and service you deserve.