How Much Talking Should You Do in Therapy?

Relationship therapy takes many forms. From marriage counseling to adolescent therapy, therapists work with clients to try to help them figure out the root causes of their problems so that things can be dealt with. Most of the work is accomplished through talking. Ideally, both client and therapist contribute to the conversation.

As a client, how much of the talking should you do? Should one of you do most of the talking, or should the conversation be as close to 50-50 as possible? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer here.

Therapists Are Trained to Listen

Licensed therapists are trained in effective communication skills. They learn how to initiate conversations, ask questions, and steer conversations with their clients. They are also trained to listen. Therein lies the dichotomy.

Listening is one of the most important skills therapists can master. Not only do they have to give their clients plenty of opportunity to voice their thoughts in a safe environment, but they also need to be able to hear the words spoken and understand what they truly mean. If a therapist’s listening skills are not up to par, both will suffer.

On the other hand, clients that come looking for help by way of relationship therapy are hoping to get sound advice. They are hoping to learn what they do not know about stable relationships. If they do all the talking while the therapist only sits and listens, they may conclude they aren’t benefiting from the sessions.

It’s a Balancing Act

The therapists at Rye, New York’s Relationships & More say that it’s a balancing act for counselors. Ultimately, relationship therapy is about helping clients identify their struggles, the root causes of those struggles, and the most appropriate ways to address them. Therapists want to help clients figure things out for themselves.

When accomplished, the end results are more meaningful to the client. Still, what if a particular client cannot get there? Then it’s up to the therapist to offer additional thoughts and suggestions to keep things moving in the right direction.

Rest assured it is not easy for therapists to walk the fine line between talking too much or not talking enough. A therapist needs to be able to ‘read the room’ so to speak. They need to adapt to the needs of each client in each separate session.

You Can Ask Questions

You might feel like you are not getting enough from your therapist. You might feel like you are doing all the talking. Know this: you do have the power to make your relationship therapy sessions whatever you want them to be. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough help, start asking questions.

Your therapist is trained to ask you questions designed to help you figure things out. But if you cannot work out the answers for yourself, ask your own questions. Ask how to implement one of your therapist’s suggestions. Ask for further clarification of a point you are having trouble understanding.

Be Honest and Open

Let’s face it, there are times when relationship therapy doesn’t go as either clients or therapists had planned. But that doesn’t mean things cannot be salvaged. As a client, be honest and open about your perceptions. Maybe you have expectations your therapist can meet except for the fact that they do not know what they are. You can tell them.

Relationship therapy is primarily a talking therapy. Therapist and client have weekly conversations. How much should you talk during those conversations? That’s up to you and your therapist. If you are feeling like you talk too much, let it be known.