Psychotherapy is not one-sided, and therapists also go to therapy
According to the author of this book, Lori Gottlieb, the way to change is "through our relationships with other people", and especially through the therapeutic alliance between psychotherapist and patient. The relationship of trust that is created while a patient is in effective psychotherapy, and the feeling of being ‘understood’ by the therapist, are the main factors behind successful treatment.
One of the most important steps in therapy is to help patients take responsibility for their lives, because once they realise that they can, and should, take care of building their own lives, they are free to create change. Patients in therapy are given guidance as they begin to take responsibility for their own problems and personal growth, while at the same time maintaining a level of vulnerability. There is an implicit clause in the therapeutic contract that states that the patient is willing to tolerate some discomfort, which is unavoidable if the process is to be effective.
The therapist becomes a kind of mirror for the patients, showing them what they cannot yet see, but the patients also become mirrors for the therapist. Therapy is not one-sided; it is a parallel process. Something that is not spoken about often is that therapists also see a therapist. This is part of their training, and a condition of obtaining their licence, but they often also continue to do so afterwards, at different stages of their career and life, either to talk about the emotional impact of their work, or to deal with specific personal situations. The author of the book, for example, started seeing a psychotherapist when, in her forties and with a young child, she was suddenly left by the man she believed would become her husband.