It’s time to go to therapy!

I’m predicting that most of us have either considered starting therapy, or we have been on the receiving end of someone telling us to go. It can be so hard to go to therapy. Why is that?

We are scared to go and sit on a couch, and tell someone what we are dealing with. We are scared for various reasons:

1. Admitting I need therapy, is admitting there is something wrong with me

On the contrary, I think it takes guts and wisdom to see a therapist. Socrates encouraged us to “know thyself!” Getting to know yourself doesn’t take forever. There’s only one of you, and so you only have to get to know yourself once. Trust me, you’re not that complicated! 

Contentment comes from having good balance. From knowing who you are and what your body needs. Once you care for yourself, you can function better. Your body will stop sending you symptoms when you understand the reason they exist.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing but to expect a different result. Going to therapy, is doing something different. It’s allowing an objective observer help you to understand yourself. They give you new perspective, and this leads to change.

I think that going to therapy is the ultimate gift for yourself. Someone listening to every word you have to say? You become the center of the universe for awhile, and we all have the need to be seen and to be heard.

2. Hearing I need to change, and that there is a problem, means I am failing on some level

Many of us would like to have a better relationship, and so therapy is proposed as a way to achieve this. We can’t make other people do things, we can’t make them change, and sometimes the more we ask them to come to therapy, the less inclined they are to listen.

I bet when you are beseeching someone to sign up for therapy, all they hear is that, “our relationship is in danger”, and, “I’m not good enough, I’m not making my spouse happy”. Any wonder they shutdown and won’t listen?

It’s true though. Success in getting someone to take your suggestion, does depend on the way you approach them. But I know it’s frustrating and sad for you, because this couldn’t be further from the truth. You are inviting them to go with you because you care about the relationship. You respect them and want to include them in the process. You are hoping for greater intimacy, longing for a better relationship.

Ask yourself whether your loved one is hearing criticism from you, or whether they are hearing your longing, your hopes and dreams for your relationship.

Before inviting them, ask yourself this question: If my relationship were all I wanted it to be right now, how would I be different? And then speak from this place. For example:

I’m experiencing a longing inside for greater connection, I think our relationship could benefit from this. I’d like to grow in this relationship, would you come with me so I can face my fears about trusting people? You’ve mentioned that you’d like me to change in some areas and I’m ready to explore these, I need your help to do this, would you come with me?

Lastly, if your loved one isn’t open to hearing about this from you, consider having someone else talk with them. Sometimes we need to hear the same thing, from a couple different people.

3. I will feel uncomfortable and the therapist will judge me.

Maybe you’re one of those people right now who can‘t think of anything worse than going to therapy, sitting on a couch in front of a stranger and telling them your life story. Worse, they will start to look at you in that knowing way, analyzing your life and asking you all manner of intrusive questions. What could be more uncomfortable, what could seem more inappropriate.

Therapists are trained not to judge. I also wouldn’t want to sit across from someone who analyzes me. Number 1 research says that therapy works when you feel safe and comfortable with your therapist. Remember that you’re not signing your life away. You can make a phone call to a therapist and see how you feel whilst talking with them. Many therapists are willing to meet with potential clients for 30min so that you can interview them. It’s important that you chose the right therapist for you, and of upmost importance that you feel safe and comfortable with them. You can be the judge of that!

4. The therapist will pity me and therapy won’t help

You don’t want a therapist who is going to sit and just listen to you. Therapy costs a lot of money, and you want to know it’s worthwhile. As therapists, we follow a model of treatment, and at anytime in treatment, we can tell you what we are doing, and why. We follow a 9 step model, and we all share an agreed upon goal. There are things you can implement between sessions that will help you achieve your goal. Ultimately the work in therapy will start to generalize into your life outside of the office. Change is a process, be prepared to give it a little time. I often ask clients to commit to 4-8 sessions of treatment, in order to start to benefit from some of the changes.

I hope you decide to give therapy a try. I have found it so worthwhile in my own life. I really hope that you can make the changes that you desire too.