Getting Cross With My Counsellor
With 615 million people suffering from anxiety or depression worldwide, therapy has become a popular way for people to process and understand their emotions. It is built on the foundation of a trustworthy and honest relationship with a counsellor, meaning the client can be truthful about their feelings without the fear of being judged. However, sometimes there can be ruptures or complications in these relationships. There are many reasons why individuals can feel negatively towards their therapist. Perhaps they disagree with how much you think you have progressed, or there could even be a clash of personalities. Either way, there is a right way to respond to this and a wrong way. It is important that people who are experiencing these feelings, restrain from physical and verbal abuse and instead confront the issue as they would in any therapy session. They should talk about their issues and look for a resolution in order to move on and focus on the different emotions and situations that initially brought them to a counsellor.
Does the above hit a chord with you? Are you feeling negatively towards your counsellor? Then read on to understand why you might be angry or upset and discover ways to tackle and overcome these feelings towards your therapist so you can continue on the road to recovery.
Why Are You Angry?
The first step is to try and understand why you feel the way that you do towards your counsellor. Have there been misunderstandings and miscommunication issues between you? Are you just not happy with the progress you are currently making? Is there a personality clash between yourself and your counsellor? These are the types of questions you need to ask and reflect upon. Any of these can lead to friction between you and your therapist.
Another issue that can arise is Transference. This is when a client transfers the emotions they feel for another onto their therapist, especially those unconsciously held since childhood towards a new person. Your therapist might remind you of a really critical teacher you once had, so you cringe accordingly. This prevents you from really connecting with your therapist meaningfully. Although this is usually done on an unconscious level, it can still be recognised by either yourself or your therapist and resolved. Some people feel embarrassed about these uncomfortable feelings, but they happen all the time. The important bit is to talk about it and your therapist will know where to go from there.
Bring Up the Issue
Once you understand what is having a detrimental effect on your relationship, you need to confront the issue. Sometimes a client may feel like they cannot face their therapist with concerns over the way their therapy is progressing, or to mention any anger or unhappiness that they feel their counsellor has caused. However, talking about your feelings is what you are there for, and concerns about the direction of your therapy is a conversation that all counsellors will be open to having. It can help resolve any issues and make your sessions more effective and engaging.
Express Anger Appropriately
If you are angry at something your therapist has said or done, don’t react inappropriately. Violence and verbal abuse are unacceptable ways to respond to your counsellor. Instead, take a minute to breathe deeply and reflect on your feelings and how to express them before you do. If you raise your voice more than usual don’t worry, as your therapist will understand the importance of showing how hurt you are.
Talking to your therapist about why they have made you angry and what you need from them moving forwards can be the best solution. A mutual understanding of your feelings can help speed up the process of forgiveness or realisation much quicker. Usually, under the anger are feelings of hurt or fear. By talking, it becomes much easier to understand your hidden emotions. This means your therapist can adapt the sessions to suit your needs and feelings.
Understand Your Thoughts
When confronting the anger you feel towards your therapist, you need to understand the difference between validating your feelings and validating your thoughts. While your feelings of anger, fear or hurt may be valid, the thoughts that lead to these feelings may not be rational. By talking about the process that led to your anger, you can begin to challenge some uncomfortable thoughts you have. This isn’t the therapist trying to convince you that your feelings don’t matter, but rather help you understand where those feelings are coming from.
Be Willing to Work on an Understanding
One of the most important aspects of therapy is to improve your understanding of your emotions and to do this you need to be willing to open up and look beneath the surface. This can be applied to any anger or hurt you feel towards your therapist. You have to be open to uncovering the real reasons why you are upset, and then be willing to find a solution and restore the relationship. If you aren’t open to finding a resolution, then you can never move on and may even have to end your therapy sessions.
Moreover, just because you accept that you are willing to move past the issue doesn’t mean your feelings are being disregarded. Your therapist should want to work with you to help themselves understand why and how they have affected you, to prevent this in the future. This means there will be fewer issues in your partnership so that sessions can continue as usual and be more productive than ever.
If you feel anger towards your therapist, then hopefully you will want to confront the issue and resolve it. Leaving the anger unresolved can lead to tension in your relationship and your therapist will be as willing as you to heal any fractures in the therapeutic relationship. However, talking it out means your counsellor can better understand your emotions, leading to more effective therapeutic sessions in the future. If you think therapy can help resolve some of your issues, then contact me today for more information.