Hard Yoga Pose

The four questions for therapist evaluation:

1. Are you currently heading in the right direction toward outcomes in all areas of life you desire?

2. Does your therapist measure progress toward outcomes?

3. Does your therapist respond when you ask for a new or revised emphasis on goals (for example, adding other approaches or re-prioritizing outcomes)?

4. Does your therapist recognize his or her limitations and at times refer you to other types of services that complement his or her area of expertise?

Before answering the questions using the exercise at the end of this chapter, let me add some issues you may want to consider before formulating your responses.

For question one, determine which of your objectives are being addressed and which are not. Use this as an agenda for discussion in your next yoga poses session. Have your therapist state his or her perspective, and contrast it with your own. If a major discrepancy exists, that’s a significant problem. Maybe you’re on separate pages in terms of what you’re getting out of the yoga poses.

In terms of question two, you may find that you’ve never discussed outcomes in your yoga poses. Many therapists avoid all talk of outcomes. They will say things such as “talking cures everything,” “just be clear regarding your feelings,” “process is all that matters,” or “goal-setting is ineffective.” Take these statements as red flags. Take it as a bad sign, too, if your therapist is limiting discussion of outcomes if he or she is focusing only on your emotional symptoms and ignoring other areas of your life.

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For question three, think about how your therapist responds when you request that he or she pay more attention to a goal that is important to you. Does the therapist respond with an appropriate plan of action that makes you feel heard? If not, do you feel frustrated, angry, blocked? Is it sufficiently frustrating that you are compelled to try something different?

When you ask yourself question four, consider whether your therapist has referred you to other professionals when necessary. Is the therapist willing to admit that he or she lacks expertise in a certain area? Does the therapist suggest that you supplement your work with him or her by seeing a different type of health care professional? Is the therapist willing to acknowledge that you may need assistance in “untraditional” areas, from spirituality to exercise to career?

Take a moment to read the following Inspiration. After answering The Four Questions Quiz at the end of this chapter, evaluate your responses and don’t act impulsively. For instance, don’t jettison your therapist immediately and leave yourself without any support. Think it through, go slowly, and end the relationship only after honest discussions with your therapist about the issues the quiz raises. If you determine that you want to find a coach instead, wait until you’ve found this coach before terminating the relationship with your therapist. Or see both of them for a while if you receive their permission. Refer to the client’s sample completed exercise. Don’t forget to blog in your journal or online.

If you decide to leave your therapist, make sure you have a new coach or other professional in place before ending the relationship. This scale is just an approximate recommendation. This cannot be decided by anyone but you.

I can’t believe I scored only a 7 on The Four Questions quiz. I never fully realized that not working toward my goals is an important issue for me to look at in my yoga poses. I really want to achieve my goals, so I am going to talk to my therapist about this at our next session. I am going to need to decide whether I will keep working with this therapist. I suppose it will depend on how he responds to me in our discussion.

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