Reichian Psychotherapy, Humanistic Counselling and Shamanism in Putney, London
Tips for clients in Reichian Therapy, Psychotherapy and Counselling
Arrive: Take the first few minutes when you arrive to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and prepare for your session.
Be comfortable: Wear or bring with you sweatpants or shorts and a T-shirt for comfort and ease of movement during body work and breathing exercises
Forget the Clock: Show up on time but let me be in charge of ending the session on time. You've got enough to think about during the session, I can be responsible for wrapping up.
Business First: Take care of payment and scheduling questions at the start of the session. Nothing is more awkward than ending a session with a big revelation or emotional breakthrough followed by three minutes of cheque writing and calendar navigation. Get all those logistical issues out of the way at the beginning.
Relationship Next: Following those business items, issues regarding the relationship with me (if there are any) come next. This could be anything; you're thinking about termination, you felt angry after the last session, you're worried what I think of you, you had a dream about me, etc. These relationship issues take top priority because they will impact all other areas of your therapy.
Make it part of your life: Therapy works best when you take what you've learned and apply it to the rest of your week. Between sessions, notice areas in your life you'd like to explore.
Journal: Use a journal to reflect on your sessions and jot down things you notice about yourself during the week. It doesn't have to be the "Dear Diary" of your youth, just a place to record a few thoughts or feelings. It may help to bring it to the session with you.
Basic check in: How am I? What do I Want? These two questions are home base for you when you feel stuck. If you find yourself lost and don't know what to talk about, revisit these questions and you're bound to find material to discuss.
Ask Anything: You may sometimes censor your questions because you believe asking is against the rules. You're allowed to ask whatever you want, let me explain the boundaries. Want to know a personal detail, professional opinion or an explanation for something I said or did? Go ahead and ask. You might not get a straight answer, but you will get a reason why not, and you might learn something about yourself in the process.
State of the Union: Check on your status any time during your therapy. How are we working together? How well do we understand each other? Is therapy helping or hurting at this point? This is ideally a two-way discussion, with both of us sharing our thoughts.
Try New Things: Therapy is a great place for thinkers to try feeling, listeners to practice talking, passive people to be assertive etc. Want to rehearse confrontation? Practice asking someone out? Let yourself cry in front of someone? Therapy is a great place for this.
Learn to Fish: A lot of people want advice. Therapy is more about helping you come to your own conclusions than having me make decisions for you. This benefits you in the long run but may seem disappointing at the time.
Ask Why: Let your inner 3-year old out and ask why you behave/think/feel as you do. Why do I hate my boss so much? Why am I so anxious before sessions? Why does something about me bother you?
Challenge Jargon: If I say something you don't understand; please ask me to explain.
Say the Odd Thought: Therapy is one place where strange thoughts are acceptable. In fact, the odder the better. Have a sudden impulse? Say it. Flash to a certain memory. Talk about it. The phrase some things are better left unsaid doesn't apply here so speak freely and you might learn something interesting.
Be Aware: Not just who I am, but who you imagine me to be. And how you imagine I feel about you. Talk about your relationship with me in detail to see how your projections influence this and other relationships.
Go Deeper: If you find yourself running through mundane details of your week or hitting awkward silences, maybe there's a deeper issue you're avoiding. Ask what it is you're not talking about and talk about it. Discuss what you're discovering about yourself. Take the time to explore who you are, what you feel and why you do what you do. Push beyond "it is what it is" or "whatever" and tackle some deeper questions. Try: "I wonder why I ___" or: "Deep down, I really feel ___".
Don't fear the End: From the beginning, talk about when you'll know you're ready to leave therapy. Rather than cut and run, or jump over the myriad of feelings endings bring up, let ending therapy demonstrate what a truly good ending can be like.
Dream On: Bring in dreams daydreams and fantasies especially those about therapy. People often have more of this material when they're in therapy. This can be incredibly rich to explore.
Keep the Energy in the Room: Thoughts, feelings and questions about the therapy are best discussed first with me. When you run everything by your friends first, it diffuses the energy of the encounter and sidesteps an opportunity for the therapist to understand you better.
Allow Change: Some people ask for change but feel uncomfortable when it actually happens. Accept that if you're seeking change, things will probably change and it might require more change than you thought. An eating disorder, a sexual problem, interpersonal conflicts, an addiction; these may require a major life overhaul, not just a little tweak.
Engage and Enjoy: Therapy is like enrolling in a course where you are the subject matter. If you're curious, willing to learn and motivated to do some work, it can be one of the most challenging and rewarding courses you ever take.
Adapted from and with permission of Dr. Ryan Howes for Health Touch