If self-help books were that effective, would there really be a need for psychologists?
I was talking with a couple of colleagues the other day, and we were discussing the concept of whether or not self-help books work. At least to a certain extent, they can definitely help people gain wider knowledge, create some avenues of introspection, and they likely do help on some journeys of self discovery. And yet, if self-help books were that effective, there would really be no need for psychologists. One could hypothesize and argue that the reason for that is because there are just too many books and people don’t have the time to become their own psychologists. However, even psychologists see other psychologists. So, What Gives?
We know that one of the biggest factors in therapeutic outcomes is not the form of therapy received, but the relationship between the therapist and the client. The stronger the relationship, the stronger the therapeutic outcome. There is of course the concept that how strong of a relationship can we really have with the book? Although many books do influence the course of events in human history, and not always in a positive way. Yet, what’s the magic value in the relationship? Well, besides the feel good now transmitters released when we hang out with the people we like, there is the concept of accountability.
The stronger the relationship, the stronger the therapeutic outcome.
Let’s be very clear. It is extraordinarily difficult to change our behaviour. Human behaviour is no different than physics: an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Well, we know that if you want to start going to the gym, you will be way more successful if you find a gym partner to go with on a regular basis. Having someone go with you means you are more accountable to your commitment, particularly when you do not feel like going.
Accountability, one of the reasons Counseling works!
Counselling works, because we are accountable to the psychologist that we are working with. When we make a commitment to growth and change, we make a commitment to ourselves. A psychologist is someone that we, essentially report to. They help guide us through difficult times, help us process emotions, and help us remain committed to the changes that we want to see. The better the therapeutic alliance, the more inclined we are to work with our psychologist, and accept the feedback, the more changes we are able to make, the longer-lasting most changes will be.
As we said on the farm, if you want to eat, you got to work. The farm kept everyone very accountable, and we got a lot done.
Come heal, grow and create together
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