If you use social media, you have probably come across numerous memes and reels discussing mental health and therapy. The media has been covering mental health support more often lately, and fortunately, the Federal Government is taking steps to implement new policies that are favorable to mental health initiatives. Despite more acceptance and increased understanding about Psychotherapy, there remains the perception that one needs to be “crazy” or in a “really bad place” to seek out therapy. This is simply not the case.
Sometimes, when you become a member of a gym or fitness club, they may provide a complimentary session with a personal trainer. This is done to help individuals learn how to use the equipment safely and effectively and to encourage them to sign up for additional sessions potentially. Even for people who have used fitness equipment before, one can benefit from having a refresher or a different perspective and insights into using proper form, or ways to push yourself to make progress.
This is what psychotherapy can do for you. You might feel as though you are “doing just fine” or “can handle it” yourself, and this may be true. However, wouldn’t it be nice if life felt a little less stressful or overwhelming? What about if you felt better equipped to handle difficult situations, if your relationships with others improved, or if you could change old negative habits and patterns?
Obviously, being a psychotherapist I am biased, however, I believe everyone can benefit from psychotherapy. American society has an undercurrent of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” and a resistance or reluctance to ask for support.
It takes a strong person to ask for and accept help.
If you have considered trying therapy or therapy has been recommended to you, but you still aren’t sure, ask yourself the following:
What’s the reluctance or fear about attending therapy?
What are my beliefs about those who seek mental health treatment? Are those beliefs accurate?
What have I been attempting on my own to improve my current situation?
Do I deserve an unbiased, judgment-free space to discuss my concerns?
Are there areas of my life where I am feeling “stuck”?
It's common for people to find excuses to avoid challenging tasks. We often choose the path of least resistance and repeat patterns that are familiar to us. That’s normal. Many of us, especially parents, are more likely to help those around us, or give to others rather than to take time and resources for ourselves or prioritize our own needs.
Now ask yourself: If I woke up tomorrow and my life was improved, what would be different?
By asking this question, you can then establish your goals for your therapy. A therapist can help you address past wounds and identify how they affect your daily life. Therapy can also help you take responsibility for your actions and gain valuable insights. Some of us want to make big changes, others slight tweaks. Either way, we could all benefit from having more tools and to feeling heard and understood.
“My feeling on therapy is it’s a luxury, and if you’re fortunate enough to get some smart people to talk to about life, then that’s fortunate and you should go for it.” – Matthew Perry