When Feeling Good in Therapy is Bad
People come to counselling because they feel bad and they want to feel better. Often, their life isn't working well and they would like to make some radical changes. So you'd think that if a client told their counsellor that they were feeling good in therapy after 2 sessions, their counsellor would be pleased. However, on the contrary, the counsellor is likely to see it as a problem. Let me explain.
If change were easy … You'd have done it yourself
The main reason that this is a problem is that, at a deeper level, people see a counsellor or psychotherapist in order to make changes. These changes generally take a while because our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are complex and deeply ingrained. If changes were easy to make, you would have made these changes already.
A day is not a life
Like anyone else, people in counselling have good days and bad days. Whilst feeling better is important for people, how you are feeling day to day doesn't necessarily indicate how well you are going at solving the problem. Some problems require quite serious investigation and wrestling with before they find a resolution.
It's not about feeling good in therapy
Remember, you didn't really come to the counsellor to feel better – you came to have a problem solved. What feeling better can do is give you false sense that the problem is actually getting solved; what's actually happening is that you are experiencing a bit of relief that someone is actually taking the time to understand you and hear you out. The danger with feeling good is that you will stop counselling, go well for a while but then find that the problem is just as strong as ever – but then you've kind of gotten it into your head that counselling doesn't work.
Counselling can help you sort out some of the problems that you have been grappling with for a long time. However, sometimes these problems take time to resolve and along the way it might be some time before you get to feel consistently better.
Let me know what you think in the comments.