For the national psychotherapy day I put together a little questionnaire to ask about experiences in therapy.
The themes that came up were not surprising to me. Most people who answered the questions were appreciating their therapy experiences. Naturally there would be a bias because most people who this questionnaire reached are interested in psychotherapy. I used Nvivo 12, a qualitative research tool to look at some of the themes, answering to the following questions:
1. Please tell me in a few sentences about your therapy experience.
The main theme was that therapy has been a life changing experience to most. Helping people to open up and feel more whole and having better relationships with themselves and others. For some there has been some disappointing experiences with therapists who were not trustworthy. Most participants mentioned that the relationship with their therapist has been very important.
2. How did having therapy or counselling affected your life?
The main theme of this question is best described with a quote from one participant:
“Piece by piece, it has opened me up to a new lease of life and taken away the mental handcuffs of my old life”
Others felt that being in therapy has saved their life. One person found that therapy has been a slow process that has not changed their life significantly.
3. Did you ever wish that your parents had the chance or the willingness to engage in therapy or counselling? Please explain.
The general answer to this question was a YES!
“I do wish that they had both the willingness and the chance, because if they had that, then it would make my healing easier. Also, I think that outside of my experience, my parents are both very traumatised people whose lives have been reduced by their experiences in childhood. If they could engage in therapy, then their lives would be improved. I wish that for everyone, not just my parents, therapy is an incredibly useful tool for self realization”.
I really hope that psychotherapy becomes less stigmatised and more accessible to all people.