Are You Hurting But Avoiding Therapy?

Lisa Yaeger, LPC
3 min readFeb 21, 2023

Are you avoiding therapy because you don’t want to talk about the past?

I’ve heard people say it before. They don’t want to start over with a new therapist because they don’t want to have to start at the beginning and spend all that time on the past. They just want to get to the NOW.

And there are so many things to talk about in therapy right now!

How are you doing handling this pandemic?

Are you sad? Lonely? Bored at home?

Has this time alone activated your trauma? Do you feel like you were handling life pretty well, but now, everything is an effort?

Are you wondering if this is what depression feels like?

Has all this time alone made you hate your partner and daydream of running away? I get it. (Ok, except the part about hating my partner).

I went to a therapist myself last month.

I love going to therapy! But I didn’t this time.

I’ve enjoyed and thrived with some very good therapy in the past. Those relationships empowered me and enabled me to start my own private practice many years ago.

Therapy give me confidence that propelled me to move to a new city, because I wanted to. Therapy helped me uncover my dreams and make them come true.

I love going to therapy.

But last time I tried it, I did not love it. I was impatient.

I just wanted to talk, talk, talk. I didn’t want to answer questions about how I’d describe my father or what is my relationship with my siblings.

It wasn’t the therapist’s fault. I think she was probably a wonderful therapist. I respect her. But it didn’t work for me so I cancelled my next appointment. I told her we weren’t a good fit. I’m not sure that was technically true. We were fine.

It was the intake structure that wasn’t a good fit.

We learn as new therapists that you ask all the background questions before moving on to the here and now. You screen for addictions, suicidal ideation, dysfunctional family, major mental illness and all those important things. Yes, those are important.

But I am a high functioning woman who makes responsible decisions and does not generally harm myself or others. I don’t need to answer all those questions. It doesn’t help me feel better.

So this got me thinking, if I hate this process, my clients probably don’t like it either.

What if I screened for these important but boring facts in a quick questionnaire and we got to use the therapy time to talk? What if I let the client talk about whatever is on her mind right now?

If you start to sound suicidal or homicidal, I’ll definitely ask you about it. If you tell me about problem behavior, we’ll explore where that came from. If you just need to bitch about your spouse, we’ll go there.

After 20 years of helping people heal from their mental, emotional, spiritual wounds, I know I can weave these in a way that helps you feel heard and supported from day one.

This is talk therapy, but not just talk.

This is healing your trauma,

Calming your anxiety,

Helping you grapple with your addictions,

Skill building for your relationships,

Valuing yourself,

And unloading your burden.

You get to talk until you understand your feelings,

Clarify your wants and needs,

And make a plan if you want to.

You get to uncover your dreams and make them come true,

With a cheerleader, a supporter.

Will I really not ask about your childhood?

Of course I will, but I’ll ask when it fits. I’ll ask when it has the most therapeutic value for you. I know it’s hard to talk about certain things before you feel comfortable with a new person, even a highly trained therapist.

I’m not talking this lightly. I continue to train in therapy techniques, learning all I can about how the brain works. I continue to work on my own growth for myself and to make my work even better.

You may find that you really want to talk about your childhood.

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