Does Therapy REALLY work?!

By Sarah DeMaison

There are some people reading this who have seen a therapist, or two or even five before. Someone reading this might not “believe” in therapy. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Someone reading this might be considering seeking outside help, but is uncertain who to trust. Many clients have stated “why see a therapist when I have my best friend?” Good question! Or someone might be reading this thinking, “If all therapists are like Sarah, there is NO WAY I will ever meet with one” (If that is the case please keep reading)!

Have you been to a store before to buy supplies for your home? Let’s say, you decided to build your own home. What are some items you need to buy to build the home? Concrete, hammer, nails, perhaps some wood. The sales clerk will tell you to go to aisle 10, 27, 4, 298, and the aisles you swear will never end! Okay, finally you are done and ready to BUILD THIS HOUSE! Head over and pay for everything and suddenly you realize….you meant to ask if they will also BUILD this house!

If you went to the sales clerk and said “excuse me, can you please meet me at this certain place and time and I am just going to need you to start building this house for me…”What do you think the sales clerk will respond with? I am visualizing a lot of laughter and more laughter.

Therapy is similar; or in my opinion, it should be. My job is to assist you on the journey we are traveling (remember by this time I’ve built trust with you) but not live your life for you. For those who say, “Therapy doesn’t work” or the famous “well, treatment did not work because I did not stop doing _____ (fill in the blank).” It is not the responsibility of the therapist to DO it for you. We can guide, give tools, but it is up to you to pick up the hammer or find where you misplaced the nails. We can assist with drawing a blueprint, but we will not (or should not) build the house. Therapy is not about me; this is about you! Yes, you get a whole hour (or however you have worked it out with your therapist) to literally talk about yourself. To focus on yourself. To learn about yourself. It is a time to be selfish and as a therapist I expect you to be selfish for the time of the session because, again, I am here to work with you.

I always recommend at least 4-5 sessions with a therapist before deciding you do not like him/her, it is not helping, or anything else negative. It is uncomfortable in the beginning which is ABSOLUTLEY normal. You are discussing personal stuff! I would be more concerned if you were not feeling awkward at the first session or 2 sessions. If you are feeling awkward, tell your therapist you feel awkward. It is absolutely okay to tell your therapist anything you want. We can only help you by what you tell us. If the therapist does not think they would be of benefit to you, the therapist will tell you (they better tell you!) and refer you to someone who they know will be more helpful. Ultimately, it is up to you as to whether therapy will work. Usually, when the pain gets great enough, that is when a client will see me. No one ever sees a therapist because they are bored and have nothing to do. We fully expect, when someone new is coming to see us, they are in a crisis of some sort. It is taking the first step and picking up the really heavy phone or sending an email to make the first contact that is the hardest part. You can do it.

To contact Sarah directly with questions, please email her at