I was recently asked this and, coincidentally, I came across an explanation by Moshe Talmon*:

“The ultimate test for any form of therapy is whether or not a person can utilise or sustain the changes achieved in Therapy.
Therefore, the best time to come to therapy is when you, the client, are ready to do something about your life, and if need be, do it on your own. The key to success in therapy is timing. Are you ready for change now?”

It is generally considered to work best when someone seeks therapy (or schools, or piano lessons), of their own free will; it is much harder to engage with anything when someone else thinks it would be a good idea. But there’s another argument too.

My job as a therapist is to build trust and a feeling of respect and safety, so that someone who is sitting on the fence, or maybe only looking over it, will get down on my side. It is only natural that when someone is uncertain or uninformed about the benefits of something that they hesitate or think it is not for them. In effect it would be the same if I was a school or piano teacher.

* Moshe Talmon is author of Single Session Solutions.

I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.


One Comment

  1. curlydogs11 March 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Barry, this is so true! It’s that old adage, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force him to drink”. When my daughter was suffering from alcoholism starting at the age of about 14 we tried and tried to find her therapies that would help. We wasted a lot of $$’s. Until she hit rock bottom – went into cardiac arrest twice in the emergency department on the same day, she found herself a program…”she” wanted change, she stuck with it and changed her own life around (no help from us this time) and has now been sober for 16 years. She was ready! And in her own time and own way! That way works best. Thank you for this post.

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