I want to start this article by saying two things:
First, I obviously have a personal bias in writing this article.
Second, therapy works, and a lot of people would see a benefit of going to a therapist.
Most people seem to associate the stigma of “seeing a therapist” with being crazy, or something is wrong with the person going to the appointment. This is simply not true. Here is a news flash – no one is perfect. Here’s the best way to explain it: Therapists are like doctors for the mind. What follows are nine specific reasons to see a therapist, and how they can help you:
1. Ambivalence with a situation or event
Often times people have difficulty with huge life decisions. There are multiple conflicting reasons to choose an action moving forward. An example of this would be to stop drinking alcohol because it costs money and is bad for your health, but you love drinking with your friends and it helps you wind down after a long week (or day). A trained therapist can help guide you through this process to make a life-lasting decision that you not only accept, but are happy about doing it.
2. Overcoming past trauma
There are the emotional scars from the past that effect our present personality. Often times people do not want to confront these events, and the pain that it will drum up. Instead, those with emotional scaring live their life acting like that event didn’t happen to them, but they don’t realize how it is effecting them in the present. Sometimes we are not even aware of things that have happened. The mind sometimes distorts the past to make it bearable. A therapist can help guide you through these troubling experiences with compassion, non-judgmental advice, and empathy to heal any emotional wounds you may have.
3. Your values conflict with your behavior
Sometimes we value certain things that go against what we do and who we are, and we don’t know why. A young man that is a devout Mormon may have an unrelenting urge to have sex with his girlfriend, and he is told that the devil is tempting him to do so. A therapists can help you understand why you are having certain urges, and that it is possibly natural for a young male to have basic biological urges. Increased understanding of our innate behavior can bring about acceptance of the situation.
4. Not accepting events or other people
Let’s face it. A lot of our frustrations come from other peoples’ actions. We get angry with our boss, Father, or girlfriend. Why can’t other people just do what you want? A therapist can help you explore why you want people to do what you want and also teach you how to accept others. This will allow you to flow through life with ease. Creating a social mastery over others is a vital key to happiness.
5. Understand What is going on
A lot of people just don’t seem to fit the natural flow of life. They are told to be a certain way, but don’t seem to belong. They are upset with the world, and see themselves as a black sheep in this time. A trained Psychiatrist can give a label to your symptoms and even prescribe you medicine to cope. Many people feel a sense of ease wash over them when they realize their problem is definable and treatable.
6. You Are Not Happy
Sometimes you are just not happy and you don’t know why. Seeing a trained specialist that can examine every area of your life will easily see what is bothering you or preventing you from being happy in this life. They then can create a plan to help you find happiness where there was none. Depression is real, and is treatable.
7. You can’t reach Your Goal
Sometimes things just seem to be unreachable. You are stuck and don’t know what to do. You’re busy making plans, and life just happens throwing roadblocks at every turn. Many therapists specialize in peak performance and self-actualization. This means they identify your strengths and see what obstacles are holding you back from getting what you desire most.
8. Managing Stress
Therapists can also give you tools to teach you how to deal with stress. It is always good to go and vent what is bothering you. Verbal vomiting all over a therapists who is eager to listen to you is therapy in itself. Not only will this person (the therapist) listen to you, but they will teach you how to manage stress on your own. The absolute best therapists know deep down that they are working themselves out of a job.
9. Making the Unknown, Known
Most therapeutic modalities attempt to help you explain your behavior. Psychologists theorize that we are not fully aware of why we do what we do. We cannot often recall significant events in early childhood or how to connect those events to present behavior. Psychoanalytic, attachment theory, and EMDR are all modalities that aid this process.They provide insight into mental processes that we are not conciously aware of.
This model represents our behavior. The black circle is 100% of your behavior. The small, inner blue circle is a majority of peoples’ awareness of why they do what they do. The larger, red circle represents how much more awareness and insight someone can gain about their behavior from seeing a therapist. They act as behavior explorers that guide you through the uncharted region of yourself to explain why you do what you do. This new found knowledge learned from an inner exploration will give you better mastery over yourself.
Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on therapy, and if you’ve seen a therapist, how has it worked for you?