One of the most frustrating things that can happen in a therapy session is getting to near the end of the session and hitting upon a topic that you really wanted to discuss that day. It may not have come up at all for the entire session. There can be a number of reasons for this. One common reason is that, although you might want to talk about the issue, it is a difficult one. So avoiding it till the end of the session is a way to protect against getting into some really sensitive material. It’s kind of like procrastinating on a big project for school or work. You know you need to do it, but you just can’t quite make yourself dive in until something else comes up. In this case, it’s the end of the session.
Another common reason is that bringing up an important topic at the end is a way to keep the session going longer. This usually is not a conscious wish. You’re likely not doing it intentionally. But waiting till the end of the session to bring up an important topic makes it hard for the therapist to end the session. Imagine a client in the last five minutes of a session were to mention to his therapist that his wife filed for divorce, or his father died, or he had just gotten let go from his job. Think about how challenging that is for the therapist to shut the conversation down relatively abruptly without seeming callous or uncaring. Yet the therapist knows that she has another client waiting to see her and will be inconveniencing her by going over time. It creates a real dilemma.
Waiting till the end of a session can feel like a way of giving yourself more time to discuss things. Clients oftentimes have told me that they feel like the sessions go by so quickly that they cannot get in everything they want to discuss. This is, indeed, a challenging aspect of therapy and can be quite frustrating. It does take some getting used to. But over time it gets easier. Try to keep in mind that discussing important topics should be addressed earlier in the session rather than later so that you give yourself ample time to dig in. If you’re anxious about discussing it because it is particularly sensitive you might consider mentioning that fear to the therapist so that she can help you feel more comfortable getting into it. Talking about the therapeutic process itself is always fair game and oftentimes helps to provide some coherence. Don’t hesitate to ask or talk about what is happening in therapy and how you might best approach things.
Dr. MorsonBack to Blog