Who Needs Therapy?
A client once expressed they felt silly for coming to therapy. Therapy was for broken people or people who had a serious mental illness, right? Despite the fact that they had been struggling for years with some painful memories and unhelpful thought processes, they resisted asking for help from a professional. Ok, I confess, this wasn’t just one client. Over the many times I have welcomed a new client, this has been a common sentiment.
I’m not sure I could count the number of times someone has told me they thought therapy was for people who are “crazy” or “struggling”; a very common misperception that I’m always happy to dispel. The truth is that the people who walk through the doors or log in for online sessions with Red Bridge are people of all kinds.
It is my belief that therapy is for anyone who has thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
I often tell my clients that counselling is like going to the dentist. You can come when something is bothering you, or you can show up for a “check up”. Mental health is as important as our physical health and just as we see optometrists for our eyes and dentists for our teeth, therapists can help with the upkeep of our mental wellbeing. Reaching out for help with your thoughts and emotions is no more a sign of weakness than going to the dentist for a cleaning is.
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, you’re certainly not alone. Emotions are part of the human experience and sometimes we need a new and nonjudgmental perspective to help us sort out the origins of those emotions. Sometimes it’s helpful to explore coping skills and strategies with someone who sees your world from a different vantage point. Asking for that help and support is not a sign of failing but a sign of courage.
We would never consider suffering through a tooth ache just to avoid asking for help. That idea sounds silly, doesn’t it? So why do we feel that we should suffer with sadness, anxiety, grief, or anger alone? Psychologists and counsellors have been trained to help you explore your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations to find relief from your mental health struggles.
Asking for help is wise and brave.
I have had clients respond with shock and surprise when I mention my own therapist. You have a therapist?! I respond back, equally surprised. Of course I have a therapist. I am a person with thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Would you trust your teeth to a dentist that doesn’t go to the dentist because he already knows everything about teeth? Of course not! If your dentist believes in check ups and cleanings for you, why would he not believe he needs it? Unless your dentist has no teeth…and if that’s the case, you might need a new dentist! All kidding aside, when I say I believe psychotherapy is beneficial to everyone, I truly mean it.
So, if you feel like you need someone to talk to, is it a sign that you’re broken, or messed up, or something is wrong with you? No. It means you’re human and you are going through the same process the rest of us are going through, and you are brave enough to consider reaching out.
Therapy is for you. It’s for me. It’s for every single person bold enough to reach out.
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