Let’s talk about therapy.
I am a therapist, so I happen to think that therapy is amazing. I am writing this post both from a professional stand point and from my own personal experience. The first time that I went to therapy, I was a child. Later, I went as a teenager. I remember snuggling into the cozy couch. I liked the fact that it was my own neutral space where I could talk about whatever I wanted. I later pursued therapy myself in my twenties and my husband and I went to couples therapy when I was in my thirties. It gave me a safe place to process my feelings without judgement or opinion from others. Later, couples therapy gave us a place to learn new skills and it provided much needed healing.
Isn’t it interesting that there is still a misunderstanding and stigma that is attached to therapy?
It is my strong belief that we can rewrite our stories, and therapy is one avenue that can help us to do that. Now I get to be on the other side of the couch (or screen) and it is a privilege to do that.
Let’s be honest, most of us have had trauma, anxiety, grief or stress in our lives. Anxiety and depression are at an all time high. So is substance use. Families are busy juggling so many things that it is harder than ever to make your relationship a priority.
Here are 5 myths about therapy:
1. Therapists tell you what to do.
This could not be further from the truth. One of the purposes of therapy is to help you to discover your own thoughts and feelings. The focus is on discovering your innermost feelings. In fact, in therapy many people are trying to differentiate their inner voice from their parents or their partners. It is a therapist’s job to help you to tap into your own inner voice rather than people please, etc.
2. Something must be wrong with you if you go to therapy.
Well, I guess this depends on your perspective. Do you think something is wrong with someone who hires a trainer or a coach? Probably not. Most people view the gym, a trainer, or coaching as a positive step towards new behaviors. Therapy is the same thing. It is actively making the choice to work on your emotional health.
3. We will JUST talk about the pain.
On a subconscious level, many of us avoid therapy when we don’t want to go back and revisit our pain. I want to clarify something around this. You do not have to. Sometimes people want to process old memories or hurts or losses. I do think that it is beneficial to revisit things that may be currently affecting your life or relationships. It is helpful to release those traumas, to look at their effects and figure out what you need to move forward. Revisiting something is NOT the same as staying in it, sitting in it, or dwelling in it. An acknowledgment of your loss and sadness goes a long way. There are times where healing means moving forward in ways that acknowledge or honor your pain. Healing can also mean forming new relationships, new behaviors or new ways of being. Therapy is not all about the past. Your therapy can be very present or future oriented. Speak up about what you want.
4. Why am I listening to someone who is human?
Okay, so this is similar to number one. Yes, a therapist is human. This means that they, too, have an imperfect life. There is a very good chance that they have experienced their own trauma. When you hire a therapist, it means that you are hiring someone who has had many years of training in emotional health. Regardless of their own life, they are skilled in helping you to connect to your feelings and live the life that you want to be living.
5. All therapists are the same
Therapists have different personalities,specialties and skill sets. I always encourage people to interview their potential therapists to make sure that it feels like its a good match. It is standard to do this; the therapeutic match is incredibly important.
Stay tuned for my next post on Interviewing Your Therapist.