been seeing my therapist for 10 months now. He has never discussed with me
what Im diagnosed with or what type of treatment course is being taken.
I come in, discuss my issues, concerns and leave. Now I have a lot of questions
about what Im being treated for, whats his theoretical orientation
and how long treatment is expected to last, but am uncertain how to ask him.
This is my first experience with therapy and did not ask any of the
questionsI guess I should have initiallysolely out of a lack
of knowledge. How now do I ask these after seeing him for 10 months. I would
like to know about his educational background, etc. It seems a mute point
now to ask after seeing him all this time and I fear hell tell me this
if I should ask, so I dont. Any suggestions on how I can bring this
up in our discussions?
Actually, asking the questions is the easy part. All you
have to do is write down the questions, pull them out at the beginning of
your next session, and say, Before we begin with anything else today,
I have some questions Id like to ask. Then start in. Its
The hard part
is a completely different issue.
Now, it seems
pretty clear that you learned about all these questions by visiting my website.
But the question for you is, Why, after 10 months of psychotherapy,
did you decide to visit my website? What was happeningor, perhaps
more appropriately, what was not happeningin your treatment
that sent you off looking for answers?
You see, if your
treatment had progressed properly, you would have learned the answers to
your questions already. Any psychotherapist should discuss his or her license,
education, theoretical approach, and expected length of treatment in the
first session when you review the
treatment consent and
office policies form. You should have been given a
you wanted onewithin the first two or three sessions. So I can guess
that after 10 months of discussing your issues you began to
thinkand feelthat something was not right.
So, first of
all, congratulations for recognizing that feeling.
As for what to
do about that feeling, it really can be a genuine part of your psychotherapy.
If your psychotherapist is competent, then after you have asked your questions,
and if they have been answered non-defensively, then the psychotherapist
will turn to looking at the underlying feeling that led you to ask those
questions after 10 months of treatment. On the other hand, as you can tell
by reading some of the other questions in this section, there are a lot of
bad therapists out there. Given that your psychotherapist failed
to discuss some very important issues right from the beginning, and may not
have even had a proper treatment consent form, then you may have to face
the fact, after 10 months, that you have picked someone who isnt very
In any event,
you will have your real answer when you ask those questions. If asking the
questions gets the treatment rolling into a deeper understanding of the
relationship, then everything is fine. But if your questions provoke
a defensive reaction from the psychotherapist, and if the psychotherapist
never raises the big Why? as a clinical issue, but instead makes you
feel embarrassed or stupid, then you might want to start a search for someone
more competent. And, of course, if it comes to that, this time you will know
the right questions to ask.
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