Last updated: May 09, 2008
"I've had patients tell me that they feel worse once they start looking at these personal issues so closely. It's like focusing on how your stomach feels when you're hungry. But I've had just as many patients tell me that the increased focus on and understanding of their problems makes them feel better right from the beginning."
A lot of people are surprised to find how much work is expected of them outside of therapy sessions. You may be asked to track thoughts, do assigned reading, and make specific behavior changes. "If you don't do what I suggest outside of sessions, it's like joining the gym but never working out. There's no lasting benefit," says Sanderson.
One unexpected byproduct of therapy is intense emotions about the therapist. In other words a patient may have past emotional attachments surface that are projected (transferred) onto the therapist. The desired outcome is to work through the transference. This means the projections are discussed in therapy and not acted out. Acting them out would foster confusion and other problems.