It’s no secret that life is hard. Sometimes, life gets so overwhelmingly hard that we struggle with everyday things like school, work, friendships, relationships, family, finances – the list goes on and on. It’s no surprise that many people feel the need to seek out an outside person to speak to and cope with life stresses and obstacles.
I’ve been in therapy since I was 14. I’m not ashamed to say that I go once a week and that I have baggage that weighs more than my body weight.
Yet, not everyone is as open to the idea of therapy as I am. And I, too, at one point in my life was closed off to the idea of seeing a “shrink.” When I was just at the cusp of my teenage years, my dad suffered from a stroke. Being so young, it was a rough time in my life and my mom thought it would be best if I was able to speak to someone about what was going on.
It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Wanting to see a therapist is nothing to be scared of or ashamed of. It’s not a weakness. It’s not insanity. It’s just health.
Here are 7 things you need to know about going to therapy:
1. It’s not what you think:
You’re not going to go into an office and lay on a brown leather couch while someone scribbles notes on a pad for an hour. Therapy is nothing like what you see on TV and in movies. In fact, it’s better. Most therapist do have couches to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. And if they do take notes, it’s so they can connect the dots of your conversations to uncover connections in your behaviors you want to work on.
2. Gender doesn’t necessarily matter:
I’ve seen several therapists in my life and for a year and a half, I was seeing a male therapist. I found my therapist to be insightful, helpful and honest with me when I needed him to be, I was still open about my relationship issues and failures at the time. It was beyond helpful to have an unbiased male perspective in my life.
3. You can be completely open and honest:
Most people are uncomfortable letting their guard down with others. Quite often, it’s the reason relationships and friendships fail; lack of trust. When you see a therapist, it’s like a breath of fresh air to be able to be open with somebody and know you won’t be judged for it. Their job is to help you understand yourself better, and get to the person you want to be.
4. They’re not involved in your everyday life:
Whenever we struggle, we like to vent. I know I’m a person who turns to friends and family to vent my frustrations about men and work. But often times it’s hard to tell them everything. Sometimes, it’s for fear they will judge, and other times, it’s because we know they’re sick of hearing us bitch and moan. Having a therapist is like having a diary that talks back with great advice. You’re able to share your woes, without the fear of them ratting you out on your mistakes.
5. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
If you start seeing a therapist, and you feel like they just don’t get you and they aren’t helping you, it’s okay to find someone new. Often times, people go through a few therapists until they’ve found the right one for them. Don’t feel bad if you want to find someone new, just be open-minded to the fact that not every therapist is for you.
6. Realize you’re making a healthy choice:
People have a misconception that only crazy people need therapy. But, I believe truly that EVERYONE can use therapy. Know that by going to see a therapist, you’re being healthy and aware. You know that you can’t always handle everything alone and you need someone to help sort the issues alongside you.
7. They are there to help bring out the best version of yourself:
Freud made famous the science behind our subconscious and how it affects everything we do. The real problem is that often, we don’t even know what’s happening in our subconscious. We’re unaware of how exactly the things we’ve been through in life can still affect us now.
Therapists help you make connections in your behavior and the events you live through, to help you better understand who you are and why you are that way. Then, they help you figure our constructive ways to better that.
It’s the best form of medicine that anyone can get.
Featured Image via Erin Wasson Home.