Why Everyone Should Try Therapy

Therapy has a somewhat mixed reputation. For a long time it was widely thought that only insane people went to therapy (and this has a whole other layer of problems, but we won't get into that now), however over time it has lost some of that stigma. Plenty of people now see therapy as the only way to truly handle your issues, and gain any sense of mental stability. Other people, though, claim that therapy is a waste of time and money, just a carnival trick, someone pretending they can understand you so that they can leech you of all your money. And, as in everything, there is a middle ground of people saying it works for some and doesn't work for others. No matter what your standpoint is, going to therapy is scary. There is still some level of stigma in our wider society and even if there wasn't, making an active choice to better oneself is not easy (how many New Year Resolutions to go the gym more have we all made?) Deciding that you want to try therapy is scary, and continuing to attend sessions is nerve-wracking for a lot of people.

Despite all of this, I think even just giving therapy a shot is so worth the energy and fear. Even if you go once and decide, "I am never doing that again," going through with a tangible action of self-care is invaluable. Attempting to understand why your thoughts and your brain work the way they do, is both a noble and necessary pursuit. We live in a society where we simultaneously love to talk about ourselves, and shame others for talking about themselves. Therapists are people who are paid to listen to you talk abut yourself, and are ethically required not to shame you.

I won't lie to you all and say I am the perfect example of someone who goes to therapy. I have seen two different therapists within the past 4 years, and I stopped going to both after a handful of months of weekly sessions. I'm not proud of this by any means, but I recognize that this is a pattern of mine that I need to (and am trying to) break. Therapy is a good option for me, but there are aspects of therapy I absolutely hate, and that's why I tend to stop going. Therapy usually ends up with me feeling like I am a healthy human being who is making mountains out of molehills. Going to weekly sessions sometimes make me feel like I should be making things up to talk about, so that I am not wasting an hour of both of our lives. I also tend to feel like I'm just complaining to a stranger about my life, only to have her tell me that what I feel is normal, and that life is always going to be this way (which kind of makes everything worse. If everyone feels like this all the time.. What the hell are we all doing?). But within these issues there is room for me and my future therapist to adjust. I don't need to have weekly sessions - bi weekly would probably work better for me. I can also communicate to whoever it is that they should kick 'normal' out of their vocabulary for my sessions (because it just f*cks me up even more). Therapy is incredibly personalized by design, and anything that you can pinpoint doesn't work for you is something you can communicate to your therapist and see how you can adjust together.

Obviously, continuous therapy is a complex, personal choice. Not everyone has the money to consistently see sa therapist, it takes time and energy to find the right therapist that not everyone has, and therapy truly just doesn't work for some people. However, I think giving therapy a shot (if you can) is a step that we as a society should take toward respecting the continuous evolution of our individual mental health. If trying therapy out once becomes the cultural norm, so follows understanding our individual emotional needs and tendencies, and working towards becoming better humans. Now, obviously this article isn't going to cause a giant cultural shift and by next week everyone will be scheduling a therapy appointment (a girl can dream). But if you have the means and opportunity and even slight curiosity or desire to try out therapy, you should. We are delicate creatures that need help a lot  of the time. There is no shame in that. And who knows, you might really like it.


Image sources: thumbnail, 1, 2, 3, 4