This post is the first installation of a two part series about beginning therapy. Check out the second post when it becomes available on 10/21/2020.
Happy (belated) World Mental Health Day! In honor of the holiday this post is going to be about one of the best ways to stay on top of your mental health: starting therapy. You may be thinking, “Sam, I don’t have depression, I’m just having a hard time at the moment– isn’t therapy for people with REAL problems?” To that I might ask, what is a real problem? If it is negatively impacting your life, why not allow yourself access to a beneficial resource?
Why People Seek Therapy
I work with a lot of folks who share that when starting therapy they were worried the experiences and feelings they were having did not warrant attending therapy. Here’s the kicker: therapy is for everyone. And while I can acknowledge I might be a bit biased, being a human is hard and requires navigating some pretty complex scenarios and emotions. Some of the common reasons folks seek therapy include:
No longer enjoying activities they used to enjoy
A life transition
Concern about substance use
Trouble focusing at work/school
Wanting an unbiased ear for life’s troubles
What is Therapy?
For many folks, therapy conjures up the image of laying on a couch and spilling your guts to an older gentleman in a tweed jacket– but this is more of an old-school idea or what therapy is. Commonly, therapy is defined as “treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder” which of course can take many different forms. At its core, therapy is intended to assist people in being more curious about themselves; their history, their behaviors, their thoughts, and their feelings. Therapists work to offer up a mirror to their client and allow them to see themselves a bit more clearly. The hope is that through a trusting connection with a therapist, a person learns to navigate their environment in a way that allows them to reach their goals and potentials. Each therapist takes their own approach, which is why it can be important to consider your needs or thoughts about therapy prior to selecting a practitioner.