Some reasons people go into therapy…
Recovering from a recent loss, disappointment, trauma, stress, overwhelm: When you hit a bump in the road, can’t get yourself out of a stuck place (we all land there from time to time), or feel that Life has taken control of your life, it makes sense to find someone to talk to about what’s going on.
Recovering from childhood loss, disappointment, trauma, stress: This is what therapy is most known for. While it may seem unnecessarily painful to revisit the past, doing so from the perspective of understanding what happened to you and the context in which you developed can help you feel compassion for who you are and what you think, feel, and act. You can talk about anything with your therapist.
Happiness: When you realize that external objects and outside approval do not lead to lasting happiness, when you reach a place of unpleasant discomfort with life–a kind of incongruence or emptiness–when you realize you are not satisfied with the life you’ve created for yourself, you can use therapy to determine the best course of action…or non-action.
Curiosity about you: When you want to know more about who you are and what “makes you tick,” not in a negative pathological way as in “what’s wrong with me?” but in a curious and kind way, a trained therapist can offer a safe space for you to learn all about you.
Personal Growth: You might have reached a place in your life where you want to grow as a person, change patterns of thought, feelings, behavior. You might want to trade in ineffective and unhealthy habits for something new and different.
Guidance: Let’s face it, parents may have done the best they could do, but life can get complicated, and friends and family members may have agendas and expectations. In therapy, you have someone who will listen and offer guidance as you navigate through whatever you are going through.
Is there something wrong with you?
No, there’s nothing wrong with you. Even now in 2016, here in Southern California–home of conversations sprinkled with “My therapist says…”–there is still a stigma about mental health. Going into therapy does not mean there’s something wrong with you or that you have a mental disorder. Going into therapy means a) you know something is not working for you and b) you are willing to take a look at what that might be.
Concerned about confidentiality?
Whatever you say in therapy stays in therapy…unless you say it’s okay for your therapist to talk to someone such as your medical doctor or a family member…in writing! Without your permission in writing, what you say in “the room” stays in the room.