Is it the mad who seek therapy or the sane? Is there any point in dwelling on past hurts? Isn’t it just better to roll with the punches? Is therapy an option worth considering or just not for you? There is one right answer to that question. Only you can decide.
What happens in therapy?
Therapy is like the beloved child in the old Swedish saying ‘kärt barn har många namn’. Translated into English this means that ‘a dear child has many names’. Some people talk about therapy, others about psychotherapy, counseling, psychological therapy or talking therapy. But what happens in these confidential sessions?
Therapy is a journey into your own mind. The catch is that you don’t know your destination. Such a journey requires courage and trust in your travel companion, your therapist.
Therapy is one of many ways in which we can work on our difficult feelings, behaviors or relationships. Therapy is a process where we talk about what has happened to us, how our life experiences have affected us, what helped us cope and manage and how, as a result, we understand ourselves and our lives.
Depending on your therapist’s approach and your goals, you will probably be asked about your childhood experiences. They have a significant impact on who we become and understanding our childhood helps us understand ourselves better.
You may need to revisit some painful memories. In therapy you will talk about those difficult, awkward, painful problems. By shining the light on the dark corners of our minds, we may be surprised to realize that those dark corners are not so scary after all and their hold on us will loosen.
You will be encouraged to increase your awareness of everyday moments and reflect on your reactions and responses. Your therapist is most likely also going to be encouraging you to find acceptance towards yourself.
How can therapy help?
Therapy can heal and it can also deepen our understanding of ourselves, others and life. Therapy can help us grow, thrive and find joy and contentment.
Some find therapy helpful because they gain a new perspective. Others need to feel heard and understood. And some just want to test new ways of behaving or thinking by changing their deeply held beliefs and habits.
Therapy is not for everyone and it is not the only way to resolve difficulties we face in life. Gardening, hiking, fishing, connecting, meditating, painting, exercising, socializing all can work as well. Sometimes life carries us and time can heal too.
Am I ready to speak to someone?
Clients often come to see a psychologist, psychotherapist or counselor later than they should have. By then the problem may have a tight hold on them, and by then the problem has become worse and more difficult to address.
Therapy requires a desire and ability to look into oneself with honesty and openness. It requires courage to look at difficulties from more than one perspective.
If you are considering seeking professional advice, it doesn’t mean you are incapable of living your life. It means that you want to listen to the perspective and insight of another person. It means that you are open to change and growth. Allowing another person to see and hear what you are going through, takes courage and strength.
If you are not sure if you should contact a therapist, remember this: A competent, ethical therapist will start working with you only if they think that there is a need that they can help you with. You may leave the session with a recommendation to see a neurologist or an assurance that you are doing well considering the circumstances.
Just like meditation, therapy is not for everyone. It’s ok if speaking to a professional is not for you. Maybe at another time in your life you will find it a feasible option. Maybe you’ll do just fine without it. Most people though don’t quite know what they are missing until they give therapy a chance and they start to see the positive impact of it in their life.