Will my therapist insist on setting a goal in therapy?

As a therapist I have had this question asked a number of time over the years, so it maybe worth talking about.

It can be important to have goals, if you need help to make changes, or you want to set up focus points, that you can use to help you keep on your path of choice, it is  generally beneficial to set goals in therapy.

But in my opinion a therapist should never force someone to set goals, sometimes people need to meander in therapy, to spend time reflecting and expressing their thoughts and feelings, it can be important to just be in the therapeutic space, and not just setting goals because they feel pressured to do so.

When you set goals you are committed to making progress towards achieving something, but sometimes people do not want to change anything, until they have made sense of what is going on in their own head, some times people are not able to even contemplate what goal is even needed at that moment in time.

There is nothing wrong in enquiring if the client wants to set some goals, that can be very helpful, and it may even give the client some focus, as long as it is a free choice for them to make, and not an order to comply with the wishes of the therapist.

Counselling session

Setting a goal in therapy is always a negotiation, the client wishes to set up a task and the therapist is there to try and challenge any unrealistic expectations, and help clarify what the client wants, and understand if the task is achievable. This is to stop the client setting themselves up to fail.  

If you do not want to set goals in therapy, just say so, you do not have to, some therapists insist that not setting goals is bad therapy, I say that a therapist who insists on setting goals, is actively pushing someone into making a choice, they may not be ready or able to make, (and in my opinion is bad therapy).

Applying this kind of pressure is all about the therapists needs, not the clients, maybe it’s a need to feel they have influence, or wanting to be seen as important, or something else within themselves, that they are then channelling through their clients.

It’s not good to force or pressurise a client, to conform to the therapists will, after all therapist are supposed to help build autonomy and self reliance.

If a therapist is pressurising you to set a goal, just ask Why do you insist I have to set a goal, when I do not want to at this time, are my wishes not important.

Are your needs as a therapist more important than mine?

If you do not like the answer find a new therapist

How to afford therapy and keep costs down.

Money worries?

I have clients who through no fault of their own, have limited finances, and if they cannot find any free or government subsidised therapy, they can’t normally have therapy.

I understand that therapy can be very expensive, especially over time, and I do what I can to help by balancing my need to earn a living, with the client’s ability to pay the required fees, (as stated on my website).

I often offer my clients a way of having therapy that lowers the financial pressure while keeping therapy relevant.

I can often help people with limited financial options, by providing a mix of self-help possibilities and homework, and a reduced number of therapy sessions spread out over a longer time period, while keeping my fees as flexible as I can.

Normally, one session per week is usually required when having therapy, and that does seem to be a favoured amount of time, that most therapists use, it appears to be a good balance between attending therapy sessions, while allowing suitable time for the client to reflect on internal content between sessions, but that is only a guide and not always needed.

Sometimes by having options to have one session every two weeks, or once every three weeks, or even once per month, while also giving homework that has to be completed in between the sessions, can prove to be very effective.

But in some cases, it can require more commitment from the client, especially if there is only one session per month without a therapist to help and support them.

when it works it usually works very well, in fact you can argue that having to do most of the work on their own, builds both self-reliance and personal autonomy, possibly at a faster rate than it will otherwise happen.

Although it is not suitable for everyone, it can be well worth trying for yourself to see what’s possible for you.

Check it out now

Are online therapists respected?

In my opinion the sound only therapy session can in some cases be far superior to any in person therapy, yes I did say superior.(in some situations)

I have always like using technology, often spending time using computers and learning about building websites, it was a keen interest of mine.  After seeing people in person while working as a therapist for a few years, I could see the way modern technology could revolutionise how people have therapy, after some testing and risk evaluation, I eventually moved my private practice online, ultimately becoming one of the very first therapists to work full time online,

When I first started seeing clients using the internet, some therapists looked down upon me and judged me quite harshly, by some therapists standards I was taking unethical risks and putting people in danger, they could not see the positives, or I suspect sometimes felt threatened by the way technology was bringing new ways of working to the world of therapy. I also suspect some others did not like the way it threatened to reduced their influence, and how it empowers the client, amongst other reasons.

In 2011 I was regularly personally insulted and ridiculed, often called unethical and much worse by other so-called therapists. As a result, I was seen as an unethical quack by some, who thought I was a bad therapist, and I suffered from some hate mail for a short time regarding that opinion

Online therapy is not without its problems, that is true, and if you want to be an online therapist there are more risks to appreciate and allow for, but it also has some very important positive advantages, these advantages have enabled people to have therapy who would not otherwise have been able to do so, I know that without this option, some people would not be alive today. As always, it’s a complex mix of positives and negatives, and therapists should not just buy a computer and do it, it should not be entered into lightly, you do need to understand the differences and possible issues, these can be complex.

I am happy to say that over time, other therapists have seen the advantages, so yes opinion is changing, there are many therapists who understand that although it is not the same as face to face therapy, it is a valuable option, and in my opinion the sound only therapy session can in some cases be far superior to any in person therapy, yes I did say superior.(in some situations)

Today there are people who have experienced online therapy and knowledgeable therapists who know why audio sessions in particular can be so advantageous.

Today I think in general therapists working online are getting more respect, although some therapists still feel threatened by change, and some can’t deal with the lack of control and the way it can dilute their influence, but you cannot turn back the clock. Online therapy is here to stay, love it or hate it will not go away.

Are you a therapist working online?

Does poor mental health affect your physical health?

Does poor mental health affect your physical health?

Your mental health can affect your physical health and vice versa, in my opinion it is best not to separate them, but to see it as one intertwined entity, although physical and mental health is often quoted separately, suggesting that they are apart and not the same, in fact, if one is detrimentally affected for whatever reason, the other will also feel the impact of that affect.

Within the physical you will find the emotional.

For instance, if you have the flue or a bad cold. your usually not going to be in a content or happy state of mind, and if you feel anxious your physical self will show symptoms, maybe your heart rate will rise and your breathing become shallow and faster, in some cases stopping you from doing something or starting a panic attack.

Some kinds of medication can make people anxious or depressed, that is just a physical reaction having an emotional impact, from a side affect of the drug that has been prescribed.

Alcohol, although a physical substance, when it enters into the body and reacts with the physical chemistry of the body, it has a reaction that changes the way people react, it provides both emotional and physical changes that can sometimes become extreme in nature

Another way people can understand the how the mind can affect the physical body is when they become sexually aroused after seeing an attractive sexual photo, or after having a sexually stimulating thought, after all the mind can be a powerful physical stimulus.

A poor mental state of mind can lead to poor life choices, people who are overly stressed often forgo healthy eating, or increase their levels of smoking or drinking, and that will in time have a detrimental affect on the physical self, so yes poor mental health can have a negative impact on the physical body.

Anyone doing more exercise and eating well will find it often has a positive effect on the body, as well as having a possible positive beneficial impact, on the persons mental health, if you improve one you will probably improve both.

Poor mental health can kill, problems such as depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and increase the risk of suicide, and that is a direct threat to the physical self.

So take care of both your mental and physical self, see it as a single harmonious entity with two sides that need equal care and attention and you will be better served by both.