It can be easy to identify when someone close to us would benefit from therapy. Perhaps a close friend is going through a breakup or a sibling is showing signs of depression. It can be easy to think to yourself (or even voice out loud) how therapy would benefit them.
How often have you had this same thought about yourself? Perhaps you have found yourself having a difficult time connecting with your family members or feeling the sting of loneliness when you come home from work, even if the house is full of people. Or maybe you have noticed a lack of motivation or purpose in your life and you just can’t seem to get back on track. Have you ever had the thought that maybe you should try out therapy?
There are thousands of reasons why a person may decide to attend therapy. Some of these reasons are huge struggles that have been shadowing a person’s life for years. Others may come to therapy because they need unbiased help in making a big decision or some even come for preventative measures. Whatever motive that has driven your decision to look into therapy is valid. The concern doesn’t have to become bigger for it to be legitimate.
So, you ask, what is therapy really like and how can it help me?
1. Therapy is a Joint Journey
I often hear people describe therapy as advice giving. Frequently in the context of people deciding if they want to become a therapist by saying something along the lines of “I think I would be a good therapist; I give great advice!”
When you go to therapy, it is a collaborative process as the therapist joins you on your journey. They are not there to tell you what to do but rather to help you uncover what you, as the client, desire to do. Your dreams and hopes are the direction – not the therapists. The therapist is there to help you decipher what may be getting in your way in order to live the life you long for yourself.
2. Therapy is Challenging
Have you ever heard the idea that we grow most through challenges, not through the easy times? Therapy is challenging and often stretches us in new ways. We are often confronted with truths about ourselves that are difficult to acknowledge. For example, you may discover a wall of protection that has been built in order to keep others from hurting us (while also hindering us from being close to people). As you discover these things about yourself, you also learn new ways to interact with the world around you to be healthier in your relationship with yourself and others. Therapy is challenging but it is also the reason why we can grow and develop to be a better version of ourselves.
3. Therapy is the Beginning of Self-Care
Self-care is talked about a lot lately as we are seeing how often we neglect ourselves. Self-care can take many forms, from a long vacation to reading a book with a cup of tea. But, have you ever gone on vacation and come back exhausted? Or spend the whole day off but feel like you can’t get enough rest? We need to discover the areas that are burning us out to begin with. These areas are unique to each individual and that is how therapy is the beginning of self-care. Perhaps you have a difficult time saying no to people. Or maybe you are having a tough time connecting with your spouse, so it is easier to stay late at the office rather than being reminded of the disconnect at home? In order for the vacation or the book to truly have an influence, one must first discover how they got to that point to begin with and therapy can have a greater impact than self-care alone.