Someone recently asked me if “self-help” approaches actually worked. And it dawned on me that my answer was sounding like a “yes.” In reality, all paths toward feeling better require you to do most of the work yourself. There is nothing a therapist can say to you that results in a lasting change. Improving how you feel, lowering stress and anxiety, or bettering your relationships will always require work.
The therapist role is similar to that of a good sports coach. The players provide the talent and effort to get the job done; while the coach provides them tools, strategies, and ongoing advice. The struggle for some patients comes from our societies growing perception that quick fixes exist. We see it in the constant barrage of drug commercials, the powerful pitches in the weight loss industry, and the books that tell us that there are easy ways to get rich.
The good news is that a great coach can get a lot done if he has a willing player to work with!