Mental Health Blog

Do I Have to Lie on the Couch? (And other questions you have about therapy)

Posted by Mackenzie Sodestrom on

Therapy is so much part of my world that I sometimes forget how mysterious the concept is to many people. When I first started seeing clients, I heard the same joke over and over: "Do your clients come in and lie on your couch?". A very Freudian comic book-esque scene popped in my head, with a distressed client lying on a long, red velvet couch and a quiet therapist wearing oversized glasses studiously taking notes and nodding behind him. The question reveals the many myths and questions that still float around what it means to go to therapy.

1. Do I have to lie on the couch?

You can sit wherever and however you are most comfortable in the room. Most people sit comfortably in a chair or a couch, depending on the furniture of your therapist’s office. The room will probably feel like a cozy living room, with chairs, a desk, bookshelves, and art on the wall.

2. How long will I have to be in counseling?

The length of therapy depends on a variety of factors, including the client’s goals, the needs of the clients, the model of therapy, and resources available. Most clients are in therapy for anywhere between 2-6 months, though many stay for longer.

3. If I go to therapy, does that mean I'm crazy?

Therapists see people from all walks of life; we all need support from time to time. Therapy is a great resource for everyone, particularly for people processing through a new transition, grieving, wanting relational help, having family struggles, personal growth, seeking help for anxiety, depression, anger, addiction, parenting, etc. Every day we get to see tremendously brave people walk through our doors and make changes for freedom in their life.

4. Will you make me talk about my childhood?

The content of sessions will depend largely on your specific goals and the theoretical orientation of your therapist. Our past experiences shape us in huge ways, so most therapists will want a brief history on your life, including your childhood, to get a fuller picture of who you are.

5. Will a therapist fix all my problems?

There is no magic wand in therapy. What you put into therapy, you’ll get out of it. Our job is to partner with you to help you make changes in your life. Deciding to go to therapy takes a lot of courage, and requires a lot of work! If you want to build new muscles, you need the discipline of going to the gym regularly, experiencing the strain of tearing down old muscles in order to form new stronger ones. Similarly, going to therapy is like tearing down old emotional muscles, breaking through knots & tension, and rebuilding new patterns and emotional strength.

6. Aren’t all therapists are the same?

Therapists operate under different modalities, different techniques, and different personalities. Research indicates that the relationship between a client and therapist accounts for 30% of the success of therapy! It is crucial to find a good fit for you, so make sure you feel connected!


If you are ready to take the leap to try therapy for the first time, call us today and we'd be happy to answer any more of your questions!

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