7 Reasons to go to Therapy
1. Its good for you, a tonic to strengthen your resilience for modern life. Lets face it life is complicated. Why go through it alone? Establishing a relationship with a therapist is like going to the gym, exercise for the mind. Participating in therapy strengthens your capacity for self-reflection and self-compassion and it alleviates feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression and shame. In general therapy helps you make the most of what you got, tolerate what you cannot control and engage with the life you are living.
2. Having someone to talk to provides a space in life where there is an opportunity to say everything, show up unedited, speak the unspeakable and get it out of your head. When you describe your experiences in the presence of a trained listener interesting things happen, patterns emerge and the landscape of your mind starts to reveal itself. It is a process of self-revelation.
3. Relationships are everywhere; family, partners, peers, school, work, neighborhoods…. The reality is that humans are dependent on one another, we are built to live in communities. How other people respond to us provides us with a mirror. Discussing your relationships with a therapist provides a confidential space to sort through desires, aversions, transactions and repetitive situations that occur in relationships. Learn to navigate relationships more effectively.
4. Explore big life decisions like career choices, relationships, moves, transitions and so forth. Think of a therapist as a professional confidant whose main agenda is to support you. When you invest in a relationship with a therapist you invest in having a presence in your life that can witness it all so when those big life decisions come along you have someone that knows you and can help you hold the big picture.
5. Emotional experiences can be fruitful. Emotions are useful information they provide motivation, creativity and connection. And emotions can be confusing, make us impulsive and cause distress. Describing your feelings to another person helps discharge built up tension and gives you space for self-reflection. Communicating your emotions regularly is good mental health hygiene. Putting your feelings into words makes you less vulnerable, less reactionary and more resilient when faced with difficult emotional experiences. Learn how to surf the power of your emotional world.
6. Pain hurts! It is healthy to seek relief. Pain is a sign that something is not working, out of synch and ultimately unsustainable. Stress is a form of pain. Someone once said, “Its not weather the glass is half full or half empty its how long you have to hold it.“ Addiction is often an attempt to manage pain. It is an effort towards relief. Both mental and physical pain can be addressed in the therapeutic relationship. There is a direct correlation between mental health and physical health. Therapy helps find effective ways to alleviate and manage pain.
7. Integrate life experiences. We all have a past to sort through. The older we get the more we have. Therapy helps us understand how we got to be the way we are, what we have to work with and articulate what we want. It is a place to take inventory, assess needs and give meaning to the whole process. Therapy is a way to weave the different parts of our lives into a meaningful experience that can sustain and nourish us through all the stages of life. It is never too late or too early to begin the process.
"On the one hand, psychoanalysis is practical in the sense that there is an attempt to solve a problem, or to cure somebody, or at least to address their suffering. But the other thing that psychoanalysis does is that the project is to enable somebody to speak. It's the attempt to create the conditions in which somebody can speak themselves as fully as possible. "
Adam Phillips, "Poetry as Therapy," The Guardian, Mar. 29, 2012