My dad was a true lover of baseball. He had the rare good fortune of experiencing the sport both from the field as a minor league shortstop, and then from the stands as a spectator. Most of us, of course, only experience baseball from the stands – and while it’s fine to be a spectator when it comes to sports, real life requires participation.
If you’re about to start psychotherapy, keep in mind that, unlike baseball, therapy is not a spectator sport. In order to get the most out of your therapy experience, you must be an active participant. Sitting back and waiting for a therapist to fix your problems is a losing strategy.
So, what’s a winning strategy?
1. Approach psychotherapy with the attitude of a dedicated athlete. You need to take the game seriously, be fully prepared, and stick to your “workout” no matter what, even on days when you just don’t feel like it. Because, as it is with sports, preparation and attitude make all the difference in the world.
2. Make yourself a priority and create an environment that is healing, restorative, and nurturing. Nike’s iconic ad campaign, “Just Do It,” has a simple, but profound message – take an active role in reaching your personal goals. This message is particularly relevant for psychotherapy clients. The probability of psychotherapy being successful increases when you are an active participant in the therapy, and not just a spectator.
3. Be careful about idealizing your therapist and expecting them to solve all your problems. A therapist is there to facilitate the process, but your “job” as a client is equally important.
To succeed in psychotherapy you must be in the game – it is not a spectator sport! You must be ready, willing, and able to knock it out of the park when it comes to taking care of yourself.