Five things therapists wish clients knew about therapy

It can sometimes be difficult recognizing that we need help and sometimes even more challenging to look for it. Here’s a breakdown of what therapists wish clients knew about therapy:

  1. There’s nothing too weird/ taboo to talk about. Yes, you’re meeting a stranger for the first time but professionals are trained to handle things that you may not feel comfortable sharing with friends or family. Your thoughts or feelings can’t be “too weird” for us to handle. So, bring it on.
  2. Non-judgmental space. Therapy should feel like a safe haven no matter what you say or how you say it, you won’t be judged for it.
  3. We don’t give “advice”. I get it; you finally made it to therapy and you just want to be told what to do but that’s not what therapy is. Therapy is a process that will help empower you to recognize that you and you alone know what’s best for you. We’re here to be part of the journey, whichever way that may look for you.
  4. You can’t disappoint us. There are so many times where you may be challenged in therapy or we may suggest a topic you don’t want to discuss but you may push through because you don’t want to disappoint your therapist or hurt their feelings. Keep in mind that this is a professional relationship, one in which we’re trying to help you reach your goals. Withholding information (because you think you may hurt our feelings or disappoint us) can interrupt the purpose of therapy. So, talk to us- if you feel that way or any kind of way, we appreciate it when clients bring it up.
  5. Let’s talk about expectations. Perhaps you have expectations of what therapy should look like from movies or friends. Every therapist has their own personality and own way of doing therapy. Consider what you Do you prefer someone who will sit there as a sounding board where you can vent freely and have an open space to share your thoughts? Do you prefer someone who’s goal-oriented and will be interactive in session, offering ongoing feedback? Do you prefer someone who will challenge you/ your thoughts/ opinions? There’s no wrong or right answer here and you may not even know what you need, and that’s okay too. Therapy is an ongoing process where you get to learn about yourself and your needs may evolve over time too.


Shlomit Liz Sanders is a licensed Marriage and family therapist licensed in NY and NJ. She has worked in mental health agencies with severely mentally ill population that created a passion for learning more about trauma and the neuroscience behind it. Shlomit then got certified in trauma counseling and integrates work of neuroscience into her psychotherapy empowering people to learn about themselves and how they have an inner ability to heal. Shlomit has continued to work in private practice for the last six years helping individuals, couples and families on how to have healthy relationships, learn how to thrive with anxiety and depression, as well as provide parenting coaching and educate individuals on how to improve confidence and increase self-empowerment. She can be reached at [email protected]