For many years, I have wondered why would a person quit attending their therapy sessions after just two or three visits. After all the first few sessions are the most difficult for the client and the therapist, as they are just getting acquainted and becoming familiar with one another. The therapist is likely just getting to the working phase of therapy and ready to address the client’s unique issues and needs. For certain, I believe that some clients drop-out because of financial reasons and other reasons outside of the therapist’s control. The time commitment may be another reason. It may be that they really did not understand what to expect from therapy. For some – change may be a frightening experience and avoiding it may be more comforting.
In any case it can be a difficult and challenging situation, for the therapist and for the client, as there is no chance to give or receive the necessary feedback to foster growth in their relationship. The start of good therapy – just ends, before it has even reached a working or healing stage. Challenging others respectfully and in person is vital to the positive growth of self-confidence and for increasing one’s self-worth. When we advocate for ourselves and our needs, we can derive a sense of pleasure and accomplishment from situations in our lives. It is like building muscles or learning to ride a bike. Every time we work our muscles or get back-up on our bike, especially after a fall, we are that much stronger!
Every time we face a challenge in a constructive and positive way, with an, “I can do it approach!,” our worries and anxious feelings about facing a similar challenge in the future goes down. When we honestly face our fears and promote ourselves with others – they have an opportunity to respond and to interact in constructive ways with us. Many of us have been traumatized by others in our lives, so we cannot even imagine what a healthy, constructive interaction is like when we have something difficult to say. Our fears may take over, if we let them, but if we can get the courage up to face our fears. When we do express our feelings and needs, we will likely find that we are much stronger for having done or said something to advocate for ourselves and for what we believe in.
Our confidence with each successful challenging situation that we have directly dealt with goes up. If we can hang-in our therapy sessions even when it feels difficult, eventually with a therapist’s support, our fears and worries will likely subside. It is with a sustained therapeutic relationship that trust springs alive and true growth can occur.
Of course, there will always be those individuals who want the, “quick fix,” and for certain situations short-term therapy is appropriate. Yet how about talking to your therapist about being uncertain or about why you are doubting that your sessions are helping you? …or even that you had only considered and wanted short-term therapy or counseling? At your Intake Session, how about telling your therapist what your financial limitations are?
Is it worth the positive risk of that discussion to feel better about yourself? Do people just not return to therapy, because they are unsure about how to say what they want? By expressing our needs and wants in a respectful way, we increase the chances that we may actually get what we want and need. If we simply avoid and passively say nothing, there is little-to–no-chance that we will be able to negotiate other similar challenging situations in the future.
So I say to those of you who have left your therapy sessions prematurely, “Please c’mon back and let’s talk about it!” Say what you want or what is bugging you and let us work through it together. You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel to be able to say what’s on your mind and to have your voice heard. It is very typical to have times, when it is hard to know how to phrase something. Yet by making an attempt at assertively stating your needs, you greatly increase the odds that you will feel the positive effects of speaking your mind about what is important to you.
Let me know what you think of prematurely ending therapy sessions and why you think it happens. I’d love to hear from you!
Just a blog-thought from your friendly therapist about healing-minds at Tranquility Therapy!
Wishing You a Day Filled with Tranquil Thoughts!
Peace, ~ Deb Vogt, MS, LMFT