Why Therapists Are Clueless

Therapy is like bedroom carpet and many therapists are completely clueless. And that’s a good thing. This is what I mean by that…

therapy

Photo Credit: mφop plaφer via Compfight cc

Earlier this year, our family was preparing to embark upon an adventure, picking up our lives and plopping them back down in a new town and a new culture. It seemed grand and epic, but it began with a lot of tedium.

Like replacing the carpet in the bedroom.

Our realtor said we needed new rugs so we called the rug people. The morning they arrived, we thought we were taking a big step toward where we wanted to go, but it came to a screeching halt when they pulled back a corner of the carpet.

Asbestos.

It was another hurdle and it was expensive and it slowed us down, so it was a little frustrating. But even more so, it was a little disorienting. We’d been walking on a toxin for six years and hadn’t known it. It was a little concerning that something so important existed just beneath the surface of our life.

Disorienting and concerning, but not unfamiliar.

Because I’m a therapist and, at the beginning, that’s exactly how therapy can feel.

We usually go to therapy for help with a specific problem, like dirty carpet we can see and want to remove. But, inevitably, we start to pull it up, and we find stuff underneath we didn’t know existed. Stuff that’s a little more complicated, a little more frustrating, probably even a little more painful.

Therapy doesn’t create it; therapy reveals it.

We sense this might be true, and so we avoid the endeavor altogether. We decide to live with the dirty carpet, or we put on blindfolds and try to replace the carpet ourselves, without looking at what’s beneath it. Yet, there comes a time for some of us when we decide we’re ready to lift up the carpet and face the unknown.

We pick up the phone and call the rug people…

TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST CLICK HERE

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To find out more about my first therapy experience and what it taught me about being a therapist, click on the link above to read the rest of this post on the Artisan Clinical Associates blog. This is the first of three times over the next several months that I’ll link to my original content on my new practice’s website. After that, you’ll need to be subscribed to the Artisan blog to read my Artisan posts, so don’t forget to subscribe in the sidebar while you’re there!

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Disclaimer: My writings represent a combination of my own personal opinions and my professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. I do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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  • Cowgirl

    This made me think of relationships – ! I can date someone who is “working on their stuff” but then stops at a spot and says that’s as far as they want to go. I get it now – they want to live with what’s still under the carpet, and here’s me wanting them to go the entire distance of ripping it all out. (I DO do this with myself first, and so need that in a long-term partner too). And I realized after reading this – this is how I just cleaned the house I just rented – top to bottom with a rag and my eyes inches from every surface, with a toothbrush for all the little edges 🙂 . This matches how I like to rip up the psychic carpet! That’s huge for me! Thanks!

    • drkellyflanagan

      This is a really interesting extrapolation to relationships. I wonder if this is one dimension of “compatibility.” For instance, two people who want to rip up a lot may be very compatible, as well as two people who don’t want to rip up at all, whereas a couple in which one partner wants to rip and the other doesn’t, will find themselves struggling to find common ground. Random thought, but there may be a marriage post in it. Thank you!