"Did you come here for forgiveness,
did you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus,
to the lepers in your head?"
This song was not written with psychotherapy in mind, but it is certainly instructive in relation to the expectations people have when they enter therapy.
People want the therapist to discover them, but they want that process to occur magically, without self disclosure. They have some current or past conflict that they cannot resolve on their own, but want the therapist to help them solve it without knowing what is really going on. This conflict is about the patient's attempt to trust in the process without any personal investment on the part of the therapist. Both the personal issues and the work are from the patient, unlike "real" relationships where the risks and the revelations are shared. If there is to be any revelation it will come to the patient from the patient. The answer is always internal.
It's too late...to bring the past out in the light
People often come to therapy dreading the "dredging up" of old wounds and old conflicts. When the therapist allows those subjects to be ignored it is invariably the patient who will bring them to light. If these conflicts are significant they will need to be discussed. Who decides that these are important enough to "bring up"- the patient (I frequently hear a groan to this answer).
Did I ask too much? More than a lot?
Probing questions are seen as overly personal and prying, yet if the therapist does not delve into those issues the patient will correctly conclude that this is no better than a trip to the hairdresser or a local bar. What's the point?. If the work that is therapy is NOT difficult and overly personal and hard why are you paying someone? It should be difficult by definition. Let your friends and family be kind and pleasant and supportive. Let your therapist prod you the same way your dentist does. This is going to hurt a little
The tone of the song -One-that people who are different can support each other, is what makes it resonate with so many of us. The therapist is not a person in the usual way we relate to others. If he is a professional, you will not learn much about them and you may walk away feeling like it is an unequal relationship. It is not a friendship, it is their job to get you to see yourself in a new way, without coloring it with feelings and opinions from someone else.