If you understand that your life is not going in the direction you want, you may seek traditional psychotherapy. I’ll argue that’s a mistake for most people…probably you. Let’s see why.
Traditional psychotherapy is a process of finding out more about who you are and why things happen to you that you don’t want to happen to you…facilitated by questions and comments made by a therapist. In essence, you talk. They listen and comment. And, you develop your own insights based on their questions and comments. The process is one of self-discovery; which might work with some efficiency and be really effective if you were an expert in human behavior and understood exactly why people (you) act as they do and what people (you) need to do to become different. It would be great if you had all the time and money you needed to become that expert about people (you). However, most people do not have all the time and money necessary for the process of self-discovery tat lacks a clear direction and focus. Most people really want to know exactly what is the problem and exactly what they need to do to fix the problem…however much they like their therapist and value the talks.
Education and coaching teach you what is known about human behavior as it applies to your situation and provides information and exercises that will teach you much more about how you work and how you can fix the thing(s) that you want to change and fix. For example, education and coaching will provide you with tests of how you work and what is causing the problems you want to fix (faceplants), readings, focused discussions, therapeutic exercises and interactions with the therapist, video-tapes, and information from CDs. The process is directive and active. There is a lot of self discovery through teaching and coaching…not unfocused talking.
My opinion, after being a therapist since the 1960’s is: Traditional psycho-therapy is a waste of time, energy and money for the average person, let’s say you, who is functional enough to work steadily and maintain relationships with a number of people…you, the average person who goes into psycho-therapy at the office of a therapist in private practice.
Why? The basic assumption of traditional psycho-therapy is wrong: The assumption is that you cannot possibly understand what is your problem, even if you were told directly what the problem was and that you must discover it all on your own.
Is this my opinion only? No! Psychology as a science and profession is developing models of Best Practices…all of which are directive and active.
(Next: The basic assumptions of directive and active therapy processes. Then, how directive and active therapy can work to help you do no more faceplants.)