This is the kind of conversation I have all the time:
“You know, Dr. Beck, there are a lot of days when I hate you. “
“I just do not know how to respond to that. You hate me, but you’re here. You never miss coming to your appointment.”
“I know. I think therapy is meant to be difficult, but I get so fed up that you can always find more CBT worksheets. I hate that I cry with you. I hate the whole thing.”
I have so many platitudinous ways that I can respond in these conversations, but I don’t. I have learned better. I have learned that it is better for a seventeen year old to consider their angry feelings with me than with their mother or father or sibling.
In the midst of therapy, when you just want to feel better, it’s discouraging to feel worse. If therapy was easy and fun, no one would drop out. Good therapy is difficult work because we are working on difficult feelings and realizing this doesn’t make therapy any easier. Going to therapy can be difficult, even when you know it’s necessary. It can be difficult even though you know it’s the right thing to do.
One way to consider therapy is to think of it in the same way as you might think of exercise. Exercise is another activity that can be difficult but necessary. The more you exercise, the stronger you get. In therapy, you are exercising your mind and your heart. If you stick with therapy, your mind and your heart will become stronger.
As a therapist, I can assure you that all people practising therapy will do our best to support you, so hang on and keep working.