It’s official – therapy can change your personality traits

Your personality is not fixed you are in the process of becoming who you are

As a psychotherapist I learnt and have told my clients that their personality is not fixed and that they are in a process of becoming who they are in every moment.

On the BBC Radio 4 program “All in the Mind” Professor Brent W. Roberts of the University of Illinois Department of Psychology spoke about his research paper “A Systematic Review of Personality Train Change Through Intervention”.

From the Abstract

Interventions were associated with marked changes in personality train measures over an average time of 24 weeks.

Emotional stability was the primary trait domain showing changes as a result of therapy, followed by extraversion.

The type of therapy employed was not strongly associated with the amount of change in personality traits.

Patients presenting with anxiety disorders changed the most, and patients being treated for substance use changed the least.

Attachment to who we believe we are is not helpful

The results of this study agree with my beliefs that we are all in a process of becoming who we are, and actually attachment to who we believe we are, can be detrimental to just accepting ourselves.

The type of therapy is not important it is the relationship that matters

The specific type or approach of the counselling or psychotherapy is not important in helping the client, the therapeutic relationship is most important.


Couples Counselling

couples counselling psychotherapy relationship intimacy
Photo credit: luigi morante via / CC BY

Couples Counselling

Bring back intimacy in relationship

Couples counselling is the process of helping intimacy in relationship to work again. Couples work is what called marriage guidance counselling. Relationships in life can offer a great sense of fulfilment and connection. Opening up to intimacy in a relationship can be a profound source of angst in our lives. Only when we are able to respect ourselves, then we can we form lasting, loving relationships. Couples counselling is two people who are having difficulties communicating.

With support take time and listen to each other

Couples develop bonds with each other. They form a trusting beneficial relationship. Couples work is offering witness to how relationship are. Bringing awareness to problems. Facilitating people in relationship to move back to a beneficial, respectful association. In busy daily life relationships are prone to ignored. Sometimes the relationship that has worked becomes tired or even habitual. Couples work, gives time with a therapist hearing problems. Opposing views.

If not checked conflict can fall into unhelpful, neglectful patterns of behaviour. The therapy room offers a safe place for couples to talk about their problems. Together couples work towards a solution. Using the mutual desire for the relationship to work.

Making the relationship work again

Once the therapist is able to ease an open and frank exploration. The couple can make the relationship work again is the responsibility of the couple. The therapist can only help ease, and where appropriate educate. Hold the difficulty that is being shared by the couple. The couple themselves have to do the hard work of making the relationship work again.

The couple need to put into practice what they have agreed to work on before returning to the therapy room. I see couples on a two weekly basis for 90 minute sessions, to practice what they have agreed.