“A burden shared is a burden halved.”
Why Should Everyone See a Therapist?
1. A therapist provides on objective voice
Every person in your life has a bias, for better or worse. If you ask your loving mother about your recently failed relationship, she’ll probably blow it off, saying that the girl who dumped you just couldn’t see how amazing you are. After all, according to your mother, there isn’t a single thing that you need to change in your life. You’re perfect just the way you are!
But, if you ask your hyper-critical brother what he thinks about the same situation, he might respond with a laundry-list of reasons that someone wouldn’t want to date you. Any one of these reasons could be responsible for why you got dumped, but is your own brother a totally objective, credible source of information? Probably not. And that’s why everyone should consider talking through their problems with a trained professional. Not only does a therapist have a master’s degree in the art of guiding clients through rough waters, but they are also completely objective and have no reason to lie to you or sugar-coat a response.
2. Everybody has “stuff” to work on
No one has a perfect life and most people are carrying around a lot of emotional baggage that they’re not even aware of. And while it can be more comfortable for us to keep the ugly stuff buried inside us, digging up and addressing that baggage can improve our lives in so many ways.
3.You will become more employable, enjoyable, and successful
Going to therapy often results in becoming more emotionally intelligent, which means that you become more skilled at reading social ques and understanding the delicate mechanics of social situations. You also tend to walk away from therapy with an upgraded skill-set in conflict management, and these newfound skills will make you much more likely to be hired for a new position or to be promoted in an existing job.
Employees who have strong interpersonal skills are in high demand, especially in the fields of science and technology where people often have brilliant minds but can’t effectively communicate and work with a team. We often overlook emotional intelligence as a real-world skill, but being able to express yourself fluently and honestly is a huge asset in both the personal and corporate worlds.
4. Your relationships will improve
When you see a therapist you can share your stress-load with them, so that you don’t emotionally vomit all over your significant other at the end of a hard day. It’s nice to share things with a boyfriend, best friend, or a relative, but having a little bit of emotional space can really reduce the stress in your close relationships and keep others from feeling smothered.
A therapist can also help you identify patterns in the way you relate to others and help you choose healthier ways of thinking that will guide you toward relational success.
5. You will know yourself more intimately
In the age of widespread personality assessments like the Myers-Briggs (as well as some less reliable sources like quizzes in Cosmo magazine), we may think that we know all there is to know about our own preferences and behavior. But there are so many aspects of our personality and behavioral patterns that are practically built-in and subconscious.
During a therapy session, you might discover a bad habit that has been bringing your relationships down or you might even learn that you have more strengths than you give yourself credit for. Knowledge is power, so get to know yourself as well as you possibly can!
6. It can improve your physical health
Seeking out therapy in times of stress and amidst changes in life can greatly reduce the impact that the stress has on your body and your mind. Cognitive behavioral therapy is associated with reduced anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. The stress-relief provided by therapy is also associated with better health throughout the lifespan as well as an increase in lifespan. Therapy is especially helpful for those dealing with chronic diseases like cancer, autoimmune disease, and terminal illness, and it can greatly increase a sick person’s quality of life.
How can I get the most out of therapy?
Start by choosing the right category for your needs. Different types of therapy available:
- Psychotherapy: also called “talk therapy.” This is usually what comes to mind when people hear the word “therapy” (a person reclining on a red couch may come to mind.) This kind of treatment is more about the process of talking through one’s feelings than it to reach a specific goal.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: (CBT) is one of the most common types of therapy. It is a goal-oriented treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to solving problems. Usually the goal is to change negative patterns of thinking and behaving. CBT is used in managing addiction, dealing with mental illnesses, coping with personality disorders, and developing new ways of relating to others.
- Trauma Therapy and EMDR: This therapy is designed to help people work through past traumas in order to improve mental health and brighten their future. Traumas can include, but are not limited to: experiencing a sexual assault, witnessing or enduring any kind of abuse, car accidents or other physical traumas, military service in a war-zone, loss of a significant relationship, or dealing with illness and death.
- Alternative Therapy: These include art therapy, equine therapy, or other programs designed to help people work through problems and emotions in a healthy way. Alternative therapies appeal to children, individuals with developmental delays, persons on the Autism spectrum, or just anyone who prefers a hands-on experience!
- Group Therapy: These include family and couples/relationship counseling.
- Specialty Therapists: There are therapists that specialize in military personnel and their families, as well as those who specialize in particular personality or mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or phobias.
Make sure you “click” with your therapist
- The truth is that there are some amazing therapists out there, and finding the right one could change your whole life! But, there are also a handful of not-so-great counselors in the field, as well as some who are just fine but whom you may not personally connect with. So, if something feels “off” when you first meet them, don’t be afraid to keep looking for different counselor. Therapy only works if there is a mutual trust between the therapist and the client, so if you don’t click with your therapist on a personal or philosophical level, you’ll be wasting your time.
Be prepared to work hard!
- Therapy is difficult work, so if you feel like you’re just floating along comfortably, then either you’re not taking it seriously or your therapist isn’t challenging you enough. The experience shouldn’t be painful, but therapy done correctly will require constant growth and sometimes it can be uncomfortable. Trauma therapy can be especially rattling but a good therapist will allow you time to decompress after a session and make you feel safe at all times.
Now that I’ve introduced you to the wonderful world of therapy, don’t you want to be more successful, more date-able, and more happy? Of course you do! So go find a therapist in your area and get to it. You only live once, so make sure you do it right the fist time!
Until next time,
Em the Silver Spoonie