How You Can Teach Your Psychotherapist

You don't go to a psychotherapist with the aim of teaching them anything. However, that's exactly what you do, thanks to your clarity, commitment, and ability to make decisions. Furthermore, your psychotherapist also understands that they're also continually learning from their patients.
How You Can Teach Your Psychotherapist
Fátima Servián Franco

Written and verified by the psychologist Fátima Servián Franco.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Psychotherapy is an experiential and dialectical process. In this kind of therapy, your therapist influences you. However, you also influence your therapist. In fact, mutual learning and transformation take place. Consequently, you learn and transform yourself, and so does the therapist, to a lesser or greater extent (Araya, 2016). This article explains how you can teach your psychotherapist.

Psychotherapy is a very special human encounter. It involves openness and sharing on the part of both you and the therapist. In fact, it’s a process where the therapist puts themselves at your service. This is so you can both be transformed.

All psychotherapists learn from their patients. For example, they might tell you how much they admire you. This might be because of your courage or a particular decision you’ve made. Furthermore, they might tell you how valuable your example has been to their own lives. However, you might be rather bewildered by this. Indeed, you probably find it hard to believe that you’ve been able to teach your therapist anything, let alone contributed to their own personal growth.

Normally, you go to therapy because you have an inner need to feel better. These needs have usually been exacerbated by states of instability. In fact, you usually go to therapy when you’re in danger of losing control. You might have even reached rock bottom. However, these are the times that therapists realize how strong you are. Because you’re not making excuses for your behavior. In fact, you’re facing it head-on.

Psychology can’t tell people how they ought to live their lives . It  can, howeverprovide them with  the means   for effecting  personal and social change.”

-Albert Bandura-

A patient and their therapist.

How you can teach your psychotherapist

You don’t go to therapy with the aim of teaching your psychotherapist anything. However, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You show them how committed you are, how clear your ideas are, and how you’re able to make any necessary decisions. Indeed, just like any good teacher learns from their students, a psychotherapist learns from you, as their patient.

In fact, you can, unwittingly, teach your psychotherapist many things. For instance, you can show them that they shouldn’t fail to listen to certain things just because they’ve never experienced them themselves. You can teach them that it’s circumstances that determine what you think of yourself. Furthermore, you can teach them that the reason you’re afraid of failure is that you beat yourself up so badly whenever you do fail.

In addition, you can teach your therapist that you can learn to live with anxiety when you adjust your situations and resources. That you compare your thoughts to a cloud that rains words. That you can sometimes be paralyzed with panic. However, that’s only when you don’t know how to listen.

You can teach your psychotherapist that depression can take away your desire and enthusiasm for everything, but you’re strong. That you understand you must take up opportunities when they’re offered to you. Otherwise, the door might close in your face.

Ultimately, you can teach your therapist that you allow room for pain in your life. Furthermore, that all you actually possess is that which you can’t lose in a shipwreck.

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

-Henri Bergson-

A patient and therapist.

Your desire to be healed is halfway to health

Your psychotherapist doesn’t aim to teach you how to “attain happiness”. Indeed, they tend to see that particular concept as rather too generic and unoriginal. However, what you’re able to teach your therapist is that you’re capable of focusing on a very concrete purpose. Furthermore, that you’re learning to manage yourself better and to stop feeling bad about yourself.

Psychotherapy is a treatment that aims to change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapists are professionals. They have the necessary training and skills to facilitate psychological change. You as the patient require help. That help involves relieving the symptoms that are causing you a significant degree of suffering.

Psychotherapy isn’t about making you happy. It’s more about letting you own your own life. Furthermore, it’s giving you the knowledge and ability to improve your own well-being within your own individual set of circumstances. Viktor Frankl was the father of logotherapy. He said that every age has its own neurosis and that every age needs its own psychotherapy to cope with it.

Know all the theories, master all the techniques, but as you touch a human soul be just another human soul.”

 -Carl Gustav Jung-

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Araya, C., & Brito, R. (2016). Lo que nuestros pacientes nos enseñan. Rev GPU12(1), 24-34.
  • Vitola Cervantes, K. S. (2017). Comprendiendo a Ariadna en su propio laberinto: un estudio de caso sobre las vivencias de un terapeuta en su intención de curar a un paciente farmacodependiente (Master’s thesis, Universidad del Norte).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.