"10 easy steps" for being good at therapy:

      1. Tell the therapist everything you feel about the therapist. For example if you hate his or her socks, say so. If you feel like killing your therapist, say so. If you fell bored by him or her, say so. If you're in love with your therapist, say so. If you're scared, jealous, resentful of him or her, say so. If you admire him or her, say so. If you feel nothing whatsoever about your therapist and never, ever think about him or her at all, say so. THIS IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR THERAPEUTIC PROGRESS.

     2. Ask the therapist everything you're afraid to ask. Ask what kind of training he or she had. Ask how much therapy he or she had. Ask what his or her sex life is like. Ask if your therapist has been able to achieve a healthy relationship. Ask if he or she knows what a healthy relationship is. Ask if he or she is trustworthy. Ask if he or she is manipulative. Ask if he or she has ever had a venereal disease. Ask if your therapist really knows what primary narcissism means. ASK AND YOU WILL FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR THERAPIST – AND ABOUT YOURSELF.

      3. Take risks. Be receptive to trying various exercises which the therapist devises for you. Such exercises are always geared to bringing you out and resolving psychic conflicts; the sooner they are done, the sooner you will get past whatever is blocking your progress. If the therapist asks you to role- play, to free- associate, to lie on a mattress and scream, to paint a dream, to stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue, to stomp around the room ranting and raving, do it! And do it with complete   abandon! YOU'LL FIND OUT WHY YOUR THERAPIST IS ASKING YOU TO DO THESE CURIOUS THINGS AFTERWARDS.

      4. Say everything that's on your mind. Therapy is not normal conversation. There is no censorship in therapy. Let it be stupid, irrelevant, proud, mean, boring, bitchy, petty, angry, loathsome, yucky, surreal, indulgent, piggish, prudish, prickish, antidisestablishmentarianistic! Be the person you've always fantasized about but were afraid to show. Try out new personalities. Have fun! THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO FIND YOUR REAL SELF.

      5. Try to find your therapist's weakness. That's right, go for your therapist's jugular! If you can manipulate or control your therapist; if you can get him or her furious; if you can seduce your therapist – then find another therapist. He or she is not healthy or skilled enough for you (needs more therapy). However, on the other hand, if all your efforts to find your therapist's weakness fail, you will most likely be in danger of doing something you have dreaded doing all along: falling in love with him or her. (In psychoanalysis, this is referred to as a positive transference). WHEN THIS HAPPENS YOUR THERAPY WILL REALLY BEGIN TO MOVE.

     6. Explore your unconscious productions. Bring in your dreams, your fantasies, your paintings, your songs, your dances, your poems, your photographs, your stories; these are the roadmaps to your unconscious. If you continually dream of spiders eating ladybugs, that is significant. If you continually paint pictures of frightened little girls, that is significant. If you continually write sad songs about unrequited love, that is significant. If all your dances lack physical contact with others, that is significant. If all your stories are about people doing vile things to your mind or body, that is significant. EXPLORING THE SYMBOLS OF YOUR PRODUCTIONS MAY BE THE KEY TO BEING REAL.

      7. Analyze, analyze, analyze. Be open to analyzing not only your relationship with your parents, brothers, sisters and friends, but also your relationship with your therapist. Do you find yourself feeling angry every time you finish talking to your mother on the telephone, but not knowing why? Analyze it. Do you dread going to your brother's wedding? Analyze it. Have you lost interest in sex? Analyze it. Are you feeling contemptuous toward your therapist? Analyze it. By understanding what was done to you in the past and what you are now doing in the present you will be able to work through blocks to effective relating. ANALYZING LEADS TO UNDERSTANDING LEADS TO CHANGE.

      8. Express your feelings. Laugh, cry, yell, storm, rage, scream, moan, bleat, guffaw, gyrate, shriek, hit, rant, kick, rave, sneer, stick out your tongue, jump up and down (or do all of the above at the same time!). You'll feel better afterwards, and you may learn something too. You may learn, for example, that you have spent a good many years living with chronic tension because of the feelings you have been repressing, needlessly. And you may learn why you have been repressing them and how to stop doing so. EMOTION BRINGS MOTION.

      9. Observe your resistances. A part of you should be what analysts call "the observing ego", and it is this part that forms an alliance with the therapist. With this part you should observe your own process, paying particular attention to ways you may be resisting any of the above steps. Analyze the resistances in terms of unconscious feelings, projections, transferences. Are you making the therapist your hated father?   Your despised mother? Your wimpy brother or sister? Are you seeing your therapist as an authority figure to appease or defy (rather than as a therapeutic ally in a cooperative venture)? ANALYZING YOUR RESISTANCES COULD BE THE KEY TO THERAPEUTIC PROGRESS.

    10. Always pay on time! Really. Being responsible toward your therapist prepares you for responsibility "in the real world". When you keep all your commitments, including financial commitments, then your life moves more smoothly. And if your life moves more smoothly then you are more content. And if you are more content, then you will be more productive. And if you are more productive, you'll make more money to pay your therapist with! THE MORE COMMITTED AND RESPONSIBLE YOU ARE, THE BETTER FOR YOUR THERAPY.\

       P.S: It is helpful to think of therapy not as a cure for sickness but as a path to enlightenment. We are all products of an unenlightened society, where people do things to other people without being aware of what they're doing, behaving in harmful ways without being conscious of it. Therapy is about lifting oneself out of the unenlightened mode of life. Most of society is unconscious. Those who go through therapy become conscious.

Gerald Schoenewolf; VOICES: The Art And Science of Psychotherapy, Summer 1987, pp. 59-63

How to be good at therapy

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