Everything you wanted to know about therapy but were afraid to askYou’re bound to have the wrong idea about therapy if you’ve never been. And you’re not alone. But for starters, it’s not about being sick, being crazy, weak, or self-obsessed.
Therapy helps with the problems of living through collaboration with a trained professional.
People pursue therapy for a variety of reasons, but typically for the common everyday issues of living that are causing distress – things they haven’t found answers for through other means. Psychotherapy may come in the form of support, information, guidance, self-understanding, or a safe place to learn and practice new skills.
Many people believe that the support of a good friend can substitute for therapy. While social support is important for everyone,therapy is very different from relationships with friends and family. For one thing, therapists are highly trained professionals who’ve spent years learning and practicing how to treat cognitive, emotional, behavioral and relationship issues.
Secondly, social relationships are reciprocal – friends go back and forth discussing each other’s issues. Also, with friends you’re more likely to censor yourself, either because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or portray yourself or others in a bad light.
And, lastly, therapy is confidential. Therapists are legally mandated secret-keepers.And finally, when you’re in therapy, you can share that same issue in a safe environment, uncensored, where the focus is entirely on you.
People seek therapy for:
Self-Exploration: Some people come to therapy to gain a deeper understanding of self. They want to know why they do what they do, why they feel what they feel and determine how much control they have over those areas.
Support in Coping: Loss is a common reason for people to seek therapy. Therapy can provide a safe, supportive place for people to talk about grief, the end of a relationship or job, abuse issues, or any change in life circumstances that cause distress.
Help alleviating anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.
Learning new coping skills like better communication for dealing with conflict and frustration, managing emotions, or mindfulness.
Learning a process for overcoming pain, working through loss, and adding meaning to your life.
If you would like to change your life, therapy is a good way to do it. Get suggestions from friends, or do some on-line research!
Next topic – Questions to ask a therapy-candidate before you go.