I am thinking of starting therapy but I have heard that therapists don’t say much and make you do all the talking. I think that would put me off. I have been depressed for years and would like to get some help, but I would find it too scary and difficult to talk with no input or support from the therapist. Are all therapists like that? – P, 28, Peckham
First of all, I just want to say how brave it is of you to get to the place where you are ready to seek help with your depression. The idea of opening up about things, which may be very private and you might not have told anyone else before, can feel very daunting, so well done for getting to this point.
It is true that some therapists do not show much emotion or talk a lot during your sessions with them. However, all therapists have different styles, which can range from laughing and/or crying along with you to maintaining a strict poker face, but if you take your time over it you will be able to find a therapist with a way of working that best suits you.
The reason for therapists seeming to hold back is that they are trained to actively listen and react in an impartial, professional manner. Therapy is a clinical relationship not a friendship, and maintaining an emotional distance from clients can enable the therapist to help you more. If your therapist does not react with you and lets you talk about and discover your own emotions around the things you are bringing to the session, it opens up more space for you both to think about things together.
Not reacting to everything you say, but instead holding a silence in which they are thinking about what this might mean, or what might be going on for you as you tell them about your concerns, allows them to put themself in your shoes and be in a better position to identify the patterns and work out how you can change the things you want to change.
I really hope you find a therapist you feel comfortable with.