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When I transferred to UMKC during the 2019 spring semester and heard that free therapy sessions were available to students, it caught my interest right away. Still, I didn’t feel comfortable signing up and, in fact, it took me a year to do so. Fast-forward to now, I’ve been going to therapy for nearly nine months and it has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. Therapy can help create new habits, give you an opportunity to deep-dive into your inner being and improve your health. Here are a few things I’ve learned throughout my therapy journey that everyone should know:

The fear of success is real.

Most of the time when we overthink decisions, we do it for fear of failure or rejections, but sometimes what limits us is the fear of success. Have you ever wanted something so bad and as soon as you get it, you start to self-sabotage? It all goes back to the fear of success, and sometimes even imposter syndrome comes into play. We limit ourselves because thinking about what will happen once we get what we’ve been working toward can be as stressful as the thought of not achieving it. 

There are different methods of therapy.

The stereotypical image most of us have when it comes to therapy is the, “So how are you feeling today?” question from the therapist and simply talking about feelings. Though this method is used, it usually is just a small portion of therapy. In my experience, my therapist and I will catch up on life and then dive into a particular topic and use different methods. Art therapy has definitely been one of my favorites, as it gives me a chance to find a creative outlet to distress. Brain spotting, a method used to try to reprocess negative emotions through identifying and processing them by focusing on the body-based emotions instead of the thoughts related to a traumatic event, has been another method used in my sessions. 

Therapy makes you feel empowered.

I have been able to witness my self-confidence increase since I started going to therapy, and it's one of the greatest feelings ever. Sometimes you may know exactly what you want or need to do but need further clarity; that is when therapy comes into play. It has definitely made me more confident in respecting my own boundaries and time, as well as learning to validate my own feelings. Through those conversations and new habits, I’ve been able to practice them in my everyday life and in turn, made myself more confident in making decisions. 

Always listen to your body. 

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is to listen to my body and how to interpret what it’s telling me. I’ve always thought I had a sensitive stomach and I remember often avoiding food before a social event because of it. Now I know that it was never the food that made me have a weird stomach feeling; it was my anxiety. Additionally, the vibes a situation, person or place can give are real and you should listen to them, as it can even be a matter of life or death. Finally, I’ve come to learn the signs of when a panic attack is about to occur: hives, a heavy head feeling and an accelerated heart. By learning the signs, I know how to calm and talk myself through them as well. 

It definitely took a while to go to therapy, but I am so glad that I did. Not only have I improved my health, but I’ve learned so much about myself throughout the process. It can take courage to start therapy, but it’s definitely something worth doing. Remember that many universities offer free sessions for students as part of your health services fee, as UMKC does. Here’s to healthy habits!

Currently a senior at UMKC studying Communications/Journalism & Political Science with minors in International Studies and Criminal Justice, Daisy looks forward to working in urban policy and nonprofits to help her local community. She enjoys learning new languages, visiting local shops and restaurants, and having picnics with her friends.
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