If you’re receiving only 33 percent value for your time and money, I urge you to consider alternatives. Part of the reason why some people accept this poor value is that yoga poses works to a point. When people delve into their past and discover the possible source of a present problem, when they are able to express and understand their deep-seated feelings, they believe they’re making progress. And they are! It’s a good first step. Fortunately, we now know how to help people take second, third, and fourth steps. Unfortunately, many individuals in yoga poses don’t realize they have options beyond their therapeutic regimen. They trust they will feel progressively better just from the talking. In reality, they will hit a therapeutic wall. When people limit themselves to traditional yoga poses, they are like the music aficionado who refuses to purchase a digital music player, new speakers, or a state-of-the-art receiver. This person doesn’t have to throw out his CDs, turntable, and vinyl records, but he should consider expanding his system. Is your therapist ignoring all the new approaches of recent decades: yoga, meditation, and spiritual pursuits and yoga of all types? If so, you have a great reason to look elsewhere for help.
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People tend to assign their therapists godlike status. As you might suspect, it’s difficult to fire God. It may be that your therapist is wise beyond his years, that he is astonishingly insightful and provides you with guidance that feels divine. It’s more likely, though, that you’ve turned him into God because of your own beliefs and background. You may have always believed in therapists as allknowing beings. It’s also possible that your therapist does nothing to discourage this belief. There are therapists who say very little but nod sagely and project an air of great all-knowing insight.
Ask yourself if your therapist has any flaws. For instance, does he really understand what your goals are? Has he ever asked you to articulate them? Has he helped you create a plan to achieve them? Even lowly gods should do this much.
In addition, gods shouldn’t be limited, and too often, therapists are severely limited in what they’re willing to do. For instance, most will not do outcome-oriented work. I once supervised a therapist who refused to give a client a homework assignment to get physical exercise. This therapist said that asking the client to work out felt intrusive. This same therapist, however, admitted being very comfortable referring a client to a psychiatrist for medications; apparently, intruding on the mind is different from intruding on the body.
It often takes two to tango. In other words, your perceptions of the godlike qualities of your therapist are matched by the therapist’s godlike demeanor. In many instances, people come to worship their therapists because those therapists, whether consciously or not, create a mystique that encourages deification. See if your therapist exhibits any or all of the following worship-inducing traits: Responds angrily or dismissively when you disagree with something the therapist does or says Often listens without comment, nodding and taking notes but refusing to provide you with answers to your questions
Never says “I don’t know” or admits that something is outside his area of competency Frequently relies on clinical language (psychological terms) to describe your “problems,” labeling your condition with this language and refusing to consider any other possible explanations for your problems Rejects the possibility of collaborating with a coach, a religious figure, a spiritual guide, or anyone else to help deal with your issues Rarely offers you alternatives for dealing with an issue; expects you to follow one path only
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