How To Kill Your Therapist, is a scary title. I did that on purpose because I want you to learn about an important concept:
Therapy that brings about lasting change happens through the relationship you have with your therapist.
Yes, it’s a business relationship. You get into it with the intent of getting help to change the thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors that are undermining your emotional success. Technically, you can leave it at any time with no hard feelings.
But to get change that lasts (rather than the kind that fades away under stress), the relationship has to become one that you can’t get away from. Like the ones you have with your sweetie, or your children. You know, the people you’re stuck with.
You see, most problems in life generally come from difficulties between you and the people you’re committed to for one reason or another. Like lovers and children. But also colleagues or co-workers you have to see every day. And yourself (i.e. the voice in your head and the feelings in your body). When you’re mad at or “have an issue” with one of those people, you will default to your automatic modes of stress management. Whatever those might be for you. And when they fail, you will have personal and relationship failures.
After that happens enough times, you’ll probably start looking for help. Maybe you’ll end up with a therapist. If you do, you’ll probably think they are like any other vendor or service provider. Someone you pay for a service and there’s no real commitment to it. They teach you some stuff, and you move on.
Well, I’m here to tell you. If you want lasting change, emotional satisfaction and life-long peace of mind you will have to start thinking of your therapist in a totally different way.
When you start thinking of your therapist as someone who provides you with a “beta testing” situation where you can learn to confront the struggles you have with stressful interpersonal scenarios in a new way, then you’ll be on to the secret of lifelong emotional success.
So, circling back to the idea of killing your therapist.
Obviously, you’re never literally going to kill your therapist. It’s a metaphor for a way of getting rid of a problem you can’t face consciously. What happens is, you have trouble with a particular emotion and leave therapy rather than having a discussion of your feelings with the therapist. Often, the feeling you have trouble with isn’t even conscious to you. You just leave therapy with a reasonably legitimate excuse. In therapy land, when that happens, it’s considered “killing” your therapist.
So there you go. That’s how you kill your therapist. You leave rather than facing that uncomfortable feeling or having that uncomfortable conversation.
By the way, even if you don’t want lasting change, emotional satisfaction and life-long peace of mind, therapy is still a great place for you to learn general information about human behavior, learn and practice rational, willful techniques to regulate your emotions, and brainstorm ways you can modify your behavior in various situations. It’s just more like coaching in that case. And that’s great too. It just depends on what your goals are.
Give me a call if you want some help with short or long-term emotional success goals. We’ll talk.
p.s. If you want to learn a lot more about how therapy works and how a special method I’ve developed can help you stop searching for happiness and start living it, download the introduction to my book Emotional Utopia.