Going To Therapy Does Not Mean You Have to Change

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This week marks the beginning of a new year. Today’s post by My Wellbeing community member and NYC therapist Josh Ring is a timely reminder that in therapy, you don’t have to change.

We go into therapy hoping that changes will come — and when therapy works well, they do. However, the focus of therapy will not be on your shortcomings and what others may think is wrong with you. The focus is on who and how you are in your own right and what freedom and healing might come from facing things as they are, with out judgment.

About the Author: Josh Ring is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Psychoanalyst who sees patients privately at his office in Manhattan. He can be reached at josh.ring@gmail.com and you can learn more about him by visiting his website: jringtherapy.com.


People usually begin therapy because something is not right with their life and they are looking for relief.

It could be that they are not as happy as they once were, or they are consumed by anxiety and unable to find comfort anymore. They made the brave decision to see a therapist, but naturally they are tentative to begin treatment and the process of opening up to a stranger.

This is a normal feeling to have, especially if you have never been in therapy before. You might be worried about what the therapist will think about you. Will they think you’re crazy or weird? Maybe they will be demanding of you or you will feel pressured to change in a way that makes you uncomfortable.  

Here’s the thing, you don’t have to change.

All you have to do is come in and talk. That’s it, just say whatever comes to mind. The therapist is a highly trained listener. They are expert in listening to not only the big things, but also the little things.

Often, the things that you thought to be inconsequential are what most interests the therapist. And that’s where the difference between friendship and therapy really stands out. Unlike in a friendship, you don’t have to concern yourself with the therapist’s feelings. You don’t need to interest them. You don’t even have to like them all the time, and you don’t have to change for them.

All you have to do is try to keep talking,

and a good-fit therapist will know how to help you say everything that needs to be said.

With time, the change will happen and even more importantly, you will learn what you want to change and want to keep. You will learn how to live with all the different parts of yourself -- the parts you like and the parts you don't.

Therapy is a place where profound changes may occur, however, the focus of your relationship with your therapist will not be about how you need to change.

The focus of the relationship will be on you as you are, what your experience is and has been, and on the support that you need in order to understand and express yourself more clearly.

Allow yourself to go into therapy without fear of what your therapist will think. Let them meet you as you are and where you are and you’ll move forward together empowered to either choose change or not.


Thank you, Josh, for sharing your perspective with us today. You give us an important reminder, at the start of the new year when we are likely to be setting goals and focusing on our hopes for growth, that we do not have to change. Rather, we need to familiarize with who we are, and learn with a growth partner which parts of ourselves we prefer to keep and which we prefer to let go.

If you’d like to learn more about Josh and his practice, or schedule time to talk by phone or meet in-person, please visit his website.

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