How to Talk to a Therapist and Get the Help You Need

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Experts are experts for a reason.
These people studied their field extensively, and although some of their overall conclusions may come off as questionable, they know without a doubt what it is that they are doing.

Yet humans are odd creatures, and although we seek help all the time we rarely are able to use it to its fullest.
What do I mean by that? Here’s a quick story.

Back in the day, before joining the military, I met with a psychologist to assess my mental health.
After that first meeting, he came to a general conclusion about my condition, wrote me a report which I sent over to the relevant people.

The report wasn’t all that serious, he wrote that I am mildly depressed and will likely have adaptation difficulties to the ‘harsh’ military system (I was pretty low level, so most people would argue against me going through anything too difficult).

Below that he listed off a few general symptoms he noticed (body language, avoiding eye contact and so on).
Needless to say, this report was easily ignored, with them refusing my request to be checked by a professional from the military.

I thought that was an idiotic thing to do, but I didn’t know with whom I was messing with at the time.

I requested to meet one during boot camp, something which they also ignored, lying to me effortlessly.
So after boot camp and before my “specialized training” (to be a secretary that manages human resources or something along these lines) I tried to meet another one, but they used their rank and bureaucracy to hold me off.

During my training I finally succeeded, through great effort, to meet an officer who specialized in psychology.
And she didn’t take me seriously either, told me some positive words and sent me on my way.

I was done with training, came over to my home base and requested another meeting, I got it only after two and a half weeks, and after that, he scheduled another meeting.

I thought I was making progress, but when out second meeting together came he blew me off angrily, practically screaming.

After that, he refused meeting with me, and I had to exaggerate my symptoms and get a recommendation from a licensed psychiatrist to resume my meetings with him, shortly after which he sent me to another psychiatrist.
And she blew me off too.

Now don’t get me wrong, the experts you will meet aren’t going to be nearly these problematic, you are paying them after all, yet the same problems are going to remain.

You will simply not be able to get your point across because you don’t know how to express your condition.
They will try to help you, for sure, yet getting these results is easier said than done.
Luckily for you, I can help you out!

You see, I got rejected by biased ‘professionals” so much that I developed my act and behavior to perfection, and I am going to share every bit of those experiences with you!

So here’s my guide on how to talk to a therapist! This guide also revolves around how to talk to a psychiatrist and how to talk to a psychologist.

With all of them being therapists and all.
So without further ado, let’s get started!

Having therapy

1) Don’t wear masks

In retrospect, this one might actually seem obvious, yet no one applies it.
Back in my first meetings with a professional, up to the end of my training, I was trying to play it cool.

People come to a therapist and tell her/him all about their problems, yeah?
Then why on earth would you try to “play it off”? Seriously.

I understand that you don’t want to come off as whiny or needy, but how can someone help you if you are lying to him?

I understand that feeling so vulnerable is an uncomfortable thing, particularly to individuals as closed as you are, but it’s something that you must do.

Wearing masks is important in day to day lives. It comes to the point where removing your mask will require you to rip off some part of your skin alongside it.

If the metaphor went over your heads, and what a stupid metaphor is was, it means that being honest can be difficult if not flat-out hurtful.

But to get the help you need to be open about yourself.

2) Talk less, darn it!

Whether you are wearing your mask or not, you are talking a lot, aren’t you?
Well, you shouldn’t.

Back in 1972, in a book called Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes, the author, Albert Mehrabian, discussed his personal research on communication.

At the end of the book, he concluded that, according to his research, 55% of all communication is based on body language and 38% is tone-based. That left only 7% for verbal communication, and his research is known to this day as the “7% rule”.

The research talks about general messages and purely emotion-based conditions.
This number may seem a bit extreme, but there is a lot of research to back this up as well, and not just in terms of communication but rather in overall feelings and thoughts.

In a recent (2014) study from the University of Stanford, it was determined that simple changes in you body movements can directly affect your learning ability and creativity.
That’s crazy to think about.

So why on earth would you need to give your therapist a speech? He likely studied the topic in depth and has years of experience dealing with people just like you.

Tell him your problem in a few sentences, wait for him to think and answer any question he asks. He doesn’t care as much about what you say but rather about your overall behavior.

All of the experts that wrote reports about me focused much more on how I acted rather than on what I said.
I know you might want to get this feeling off your chest, but your therapist likely understands that without you ranting at him about your life.

In fact, only talking without a stop will make him take you far less seriously, believing that you are simply being dramatic.

3) Come prepared.

From my experience, people normally just go to a session, sit down, say hello, and start talking.
After they are done talking the therapist asks a question, and they answer, this exchange occurs a few times until there is no more time.
The therapist says a few words, gives a recommendation and sends you on your way.

When it comes to making this whole process more efficient there really are only so much you can do.
Either:

  • Make more time so he could ask more questions
  • Make sure every question counts.

Luckily for you, to both of these options there is but one solution: Come prepared!
Here’s the deal, when you actually bother thinking about what you are going to say, possible questions he might ask and general information beforehand you achieve that much more from your one-hour meeting.

Your answers aren’t as rushed, and yet they are much more extensive and on-point, allowing for smoother communication between the two of you.

Questions you should consider reviewing:

  • “What brings you here?”
  • “What do you think the problem is?”
  • “How do you feel about it?”
  • “What do you think can help you?”
  • “What would be some positive changes you could go through?”
  • “How do you feel right now? Does this conversation bother you?”
  • “How’s work going for you?”
  • “Are you in a relationship? How is it going for you?”
  • “What do you do in your spare time?”
  • “What are you hoping to gain here?”

All of these questions are ones that you should sit and actually write your answers to.
They are thought-provoking and as such, they might be difficult for you to answer effectively when put on the spot.

Therapy can save you

Conclusion and final thoughts

Professional poker players don’t play a lot of hands.
In fact, they play very few, sometimes only a hand per game.
Yet when they do actually play their hand, they do so aggressively.

You should go on to your therapist with the same approach.
Be honest and don’t talk more than you should, but when you do talk make sure that every sentence counts.
Don’t be afraid of silence, it is all a part of the therapist’s assessment and you shouldn’t look into it too much.
An expert is there to help you, do yourself a favor and don’t make his job more difficult than it should be.

Right, so while you are looking into professional help be sure to check out some more of my stuff. In my humble opinion it is extremely helpful, and unlike therapy sessions, it is also free!

Another awesome alternative would be to check this out, the solution you are looking for

Before you go, here’s a quick question: “Did you ever get professional help? How did it work out for you?”

More than one question but I’m sure you will stay strong.
Make sure to drop your answer in the comment section below, I go through every single one of them personally and I would love to here what you got to say!

In case you would like to discuss something in private, I am always available in my email, so be sure to send me your message and I will answer you as fast as I can and to the best of my ability.

Email: VladOsipkov@projectconquest.org

 

 

 

 

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4 Replies to “How to Talk to a Therapist and Get the Help You Need”

  1. rebecca cosmidou says: Reply

    Hi, Vlad!
    Well said all you say about how to talk to a therapist! I am a clinical psychologist myself and i know how important and how useful as well is to talk with your patient in a sincere and straight way! It’s a great post and your experience with therapists helped you to highlight the points that really matter!
    Best wishes,
    Rebecca!

    1. Hello Rebecca, thank you for your time!

      I am glad to have the approval of an expert, hopefully your comment will encourage others to use this method to get optimal results from their meetings.

      All the best, Vlad.

  2. I want to tell you that your site actually helped me, I suffer with anxiety and depression…after a loved one passed away and I never got over it. SO instead of going to a therapist i just went to doctor and got some meds, because I didnt think therapist really help people. So thank you, your site really helped me … i know this really isnt constuctive but I just wanted to say I loved it.

    1. Hello Miranda.

      Honestly these are the types of comments that warm my heart the most.
      Being told that I am doing a good job is nice, and being told that I suck is constructive, yet being told that I actually helped beats all of these other factor put together.

      A therapist is an expert, he might not give you all the help that you need, but he will give you extremely worthwhile pointers.
      My site is always open for you to check out whenever you need some guidance, I provide lots of information for free.

      There is light in the end of the tunnel, I have complete faith in you.

      Vlad.

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