Saturday, July 30, 2016

Is therapy addictive?

“How long will this take?” People who are new to therapy are often understandably cautious about what is involved.  They worry that it may take years, and that they'll have to spend a fortune.

If you work with me, we spend our first session listing the issues you want to work on, figuring out your goals and then setting out a therapy plan that details how we're going to reach your goals.
Although I deal with a variety of issues, most of my work involves teaching techniques that help manage stress and depression. Generally speaking, my typical treatment plan consists of six to ten sessions that take place over two to three months. Very sometimes, the plan is longer.

 What I won't do, is take on a client without a treatment plan.
Why is this? Because it is my opinion that therapy can be addictive.
First, when was the last time you sat and talked exclusively about yourself for an entire hour? Also, throw in that therapists tend to be focused on being supportive, and you can see why the me-me-me can become an indulgence that's sweeter than chocolate.
Second, have you ever thought that if only you could take a really good look at yourself, and at the turning points in your life, that you could somehow unravel it all and make sense of it?
If you have, then you might be tempted to get into therapy and talk-talk-talk in the hope of finding psychological nirvana. While I would love to think this was possible, it is more likely that you will spend all your time (and money!) focusing on the past and over-analyzing every bit of your life, and forgetting to enjoy yourself.
Therapy plans aren't a guarantee of success. However, I think that if you have a plan with solid goals and a method for achieving them, you're less likely to get caught up in an endless therapy cycle.
For me, the principle, Do No Harm, includes a therapy plan.
Ellen Whyte is a counselling psychologist based in Malaysia who works over Skype and Facetime with international clients. You can contact her through
You may also want to check out Ellen's Flipboard magazines for a collection of media articles about depression, stress and happiness. Also, there's a feel good pets magazine, guaranteed to make you smile.

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