Why do people go to a counselor or therapist? Presumably, your reason for going to a counselor/therapist is in hopes things will get better for you and you will find some ways to deal with the issues you have that are causing you pain. The only help a therapist can give is in assisting you with ways to deal with things that have or are causing you pain- they cannot actually fix any situational things at all, and they cannot make you happy or make you feel better. Their only purpose is to help you with your reactions to things because pain and sadness come from within - they are our reaction to the things around us. While it is very fair to say if some “thing” did not happen then I would not feel like this, it is not at all the same that this thing “caused” the pain. That pain is the reaction we had to the situation. It may well be a very justifiable and reasonable reaction but blaming a person or a situation for the pain we feel long after the fact is misdirecting our efforts and energy we need to feel better now. That is ultimately what a therapist does, adjusts our energy towards dealing with the reaction instead of focusing on the situation. Many people look to therapy like a doctor’s appointment for an illness where they "cure" something and that is not the way therapy works. Rather than curing things, they assist in healing or simply feeling or reacting better. This is a seemingly small distinction, but it is huge in the way an appointment is approached and on the perceived benefits (or lack thereof) to be achieved. Going into the appointment with the understanding the only thing they going to be able to help change is the way you feel about or react to things is very important because many people simply do not want to change the way they feel. It almost comes across as being told you are wrong to feel the way you do about things since all of the focus is on changing that. In some people this sets up the impossible task if the person receiving therapy does not want to change the way they feel because they do not think they are wrong feel that way while at the same time they do not want to feel that way anymore. Aside from understanding how therapy works to make you ultimately feel better or happier, is the need to be relatively honest when talking to them. Both omissions and exaggerations make it impossible for any health care provider to be effective at their job. I see it all the time on here- where people say they do not tell the provider about their strong suicidal thoughts but then they complain the medication or therapy has not made them stop. They cannot possibly help somebody deal anything they do not know is happening. Consider it like a regular medical doctor - If you go in complaining of a sore arm after a fall they can examine, x-ray, wrap, splint, and offer a pain reliever based on their finding of a broken arm. But is in addition to the sore arm, you have a headache and nausea and a sore leg but did not tell them any of those things it is obvious they cannot treat the broken leg and concussion you also had. Since you still feel like crap a week later and still have the headache nausea and can't walk and in fact you feel worse because everything else is getting worse, did the Doctor do a bad job treating you or did you do a bad job of telling them the symptoms? Exaggerations cause just as many problems- if you go in with a headache and when the doctor asks if your throat is sore and if you are vomiting and have other symptoms there is a tendency to want to say yes to a lot of them because we want the biggest best medicine there is to feel better faster and because out headache is so bad we want to make sure we get the strongest possible medicine. Unfortunately, by adding on to the list of symptoms in trying to get the most help possible, the Doctor decides instead of needing a strong pain reliever for the headache that you probably have a staph infection or bacterial based illness so they prescribe a light pain reliever that does not really help the headache much and a strong second pill to fight a non-existent bacterial infection so the headache is not better and now we have an upset stomach and increased sensitivity to sunlight, and diarrhea to go along with the headache from the extra pill instead of just a decent pain reliever. One again, the treatment was not effective and in fact made things worse because of our own actions and decisions that led to un-needed medication along with associated side effects. Be honest and fair with your mental health care givers to give them the best opportunity to help you and then when you need to make an adjustment to the treatment you can be sure they are adjusting the right thing. Also, if you decide to see a different practitioner you will know it is based on the lack of effectiveness of the previous treatment and not on misinformation.