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How Does That Make You Feel?

In the context of therapy, there is probably no question that is more cliché than this one. Therapists will tell you that they actively look for alternative ways of asking this question, because it is so cliché. Yet, in many ways, it is the core question of therapy, and its answer contains important information that is useful both to you and your therapist. And although the answer may seem obvious to you, it may not be obvious to your therapist. By way of example, suppose you recently lost someone close to you. Your therapist might ask you how the loss makes you feel. While the "obvious" answer might be that you feel sad, in my clinical experience, people feel many different emotions in response to a loss. They may feel anger, relief, disappointment, resentment, apathy, or even happiness. Asking how it makes you feel is a way of cutting past the social niceties of what the grieving individual is expected to say and permitting him or her to say something that may feel too taboo to say around other people. I believe that most clients find that once they have expressed what they are truly feeling about an issue, then the therapy starts to feel like it's at its most productive. Viewed another way, the question "How does that make you feel?" is a tool that a therapist uses to collect information, just like a medical doctor might use a stethoscope, a thermometer, or a blood pressure machine. If you are not feeling well, a therapist can use that information to assess what other tools he or she might use to assist best in a given situation. So, although it may feel like a cliché, allowing oneself to answer this question as openly as possibly can do wonders for driving the therapy process forward more quickly and efficiently. To learn more about my approach to therapy, please feel free to contact me at or 484-222-6436. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation.

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