This post is for anyone who is thinking about going to therapy but has some fears or reservations that are holding them back from making that potentially life changing appointment. For those of you who have been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of going to therapy. I have a very trusting relationship with my therapist which is something that I’ve had a hard time developing with other people in my life. So here is a list of reasons for you to love therapy just as much as I do!
Something that sounds totally crazy to your family and friends is completely normal to your therapist
There have been hundreds of times that I’ve said “this is going to sound totally crazy, but…” to my therapist and she just nods and tells me that she can understand why I would think that but in fact, it is far from crazy. The fact of the matter is that therapists are trained to deal with situations that the average person would probably not understand. So when I am talking about my anxiety to my family they find it impossible to understand; yet, my therapist just seems to get it. When you’re struggling, having someone who understands you is often the best feeling in the world.
Your therapist will hold you accountable
One of the hardest struggles for me in the past and continuing into today is expressing my feelings just as they are. I always seem to hide behind a mask of happiness—and that’s exactly how we refer to it in therapy: I’m wearing my mask.
Most of the time I feel comfortable taking the mask off in therapy; however, when it comes to talking about really painful things in the past, I often put on my mask and shut out the emotions. Or I try to…until my therapist gently reminds me that I’m in a safe space and I don’t need to have the mask on. Sometimes she will call me on it when I don’t even realize I’ve put it on. It’s so automatic. So having someone there who can gently remind me that it’s okay to feel my emotions is great!
Sometimes all you need is someone who will listen
There have been so many times when I’ve been going through a tough time and I’ve reached out to friends only to receive a noncommittal, half-assed attempt at empathy. While I appreciate the fact that they at least tried to listen, it often comes across as uncompassionate and leaves me feeling as though I’ve bored them or annoyed them with my issues. This in turn leaves me feeling like a burden to those around me which causes me to put on my trusty happiness mask!
Talking to a therapist is pretty much the exact opposite of the latter experience. They listen, they acknowledge your struggle, they support your feelings, and they help you talk through your troubles. Therapists are excellent listeners and sometimes that is the best way to feel better about your situation. Having someone listen to you non-judgmentally allows you to feel as though your feelings are valid, which is something you might not get from friends and family.
Therapists are objective and non-judgmental
One of the biggest reasons why I feel the need to hide my struggles from those around me is because I fear judgement. Mental illness is often stigmatized and sufferers are often oppressed which leaves me with an unwillingness to share my experiences. But a good therapist will be open-minded and will not judge you for the things you say. Your therapist’s office should be a place for you to feel safe and free to express whatever emotions or thoughts you want to. You don’t have to hold back.
Your therapist will remind you of how far you’ve come
When you’re stuck in a rut or feel like you aren’t progressing as fast as you should be, your therapist can be there for you to remind you how far you’ve come. There will be bumps along the way—recovery is a process after all—but your therapist will help you see the bigger picture. Rather than focusing on every little slip up or step backwards, your therapist will help you appreciate these small interferences for what they are—small and temporary.
Your therapist will celebrate your small victories with you
I distinctly remember an exercise that I went through with my therapist which involved eating one single raisin. I have anxiety about eating in front of others, as well as anxiety about eating food in general due to my eating disorder. It took be 5 weeks to eat the raisin. We spent session after session talking about my anxiety and it took many many many failed attempts before I was finally able to eat the damn raisin. By the time I finally decided to eat the raisin I felt silly—why did I have so much anxiety about something that other people wouldn’t even think twice about? I was so stuck on the failures and the fact that it took so long to make progress that I didn’t even realize that I had made progress! But my therapist was right there with me to remind me of the challenge that I had just overcome. I had eaten the raisin and lived to tell the tale!
Therapy will help you become a better, happier you
There are so many reasons to love going to therapy, but one of the most important reasons is the fact that it can help you improve yourself and become happier overall. Talking through your struggles and facing issues head on is one of the main reasons that people go to therapy. While this can be really hard and leave you mentally and emotionally exhausted, the payoff is worth it if it means you can be happier and healthier in the long run.
I believe that therapy has the potential to not only change lives, but save lives. You should never have to live your life feeling as though every single day is an unbearable challenge. Therapy can help you live a happier life. I know from my own experience that going to therapy has made a world of difference in terms of my quality of life and self-acceptance.
If anyone has any other reasons to love therapy, or any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!