I don’t take actual patients until my second year in my doctorate program, but in just a few weeks of observing sessions, doing intake interviews, and being in therapy myself, it seems to me that providing good therapy, at least in the beginning, mostly has to do with simply being a friendly mirror, reflecting everything a client says to you, throwing it back at them with slightly different phrasing. The inconsistencies, irrational beliefs, hypocrisy, and deep dark fears are all there in our speech, but we simply can’t hear ourselves. We get in our own way.
For example, my therapist said to me, “I hear you saying that you only want to be happy, and also that you don’t care at all about your own happiness before others.”
And, obviously, once he said it, it made no sense at all.