Your counselor should be a licensed therapist, psychologist or a nationally certified therapist at minimum. If so, they will have earned the appropriate credentials. Although they can vary slightly from state to state, these credentials generally include: NCC (National Certified Counselor); LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker); LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist); LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) or have a PhD in Psychology. Another critical factor is the relationship between you and your therapist. If you are not comfortable with him/her for any reason, then ask for another therapist.
In order for your therapy to be successful, you must commit yourself to it. If you wanted to lose weight, you could not expect to be successful if you did not commit to your diet, right? It works the same way with therapy. Be on time for your scheduled sessions and approach them with the right attitude. You and your therapist are a team. Work at it and work together!
Being truthful with yourself is often very difficult, but it will allow you to really get to know and understand yourself. You may learn things that cause you to feel uncomfortable—or you have kept “stuffed” inside for a long time. However, acknowledging them will “free you,” leading to an ability to heal and make necessary changes. Furthermore, be truthful with your therapist. Not only is honesty essential for the two of you to build a strong, trusting relationship, but it will help your therapist to better help you.
This step aligns closely with the one above. Therapy is the place where you can and should say what you want to say and be who you want to be. Feel free to laugh or cry. It’s important to be as honest and as uninhibited as possible during therapy; your conversations are private and confidential. Remember, you and your therapist are on the same team!
All change, good or bad, can be stressful. We are often resistant to change—even when it comes to what we’re willing to try in therapy. If your therapist suggests you talk to an empty chair or write a letter that you don’t intend to mail, it may sound silly, but there is an important purpose for it. Try the exercises and you will inevitably gain the skills you need to effect change and achieve your goals for therapy.