We can all benefit from therapy! Why? Because I think everyone is “crazy?” No! Read on for nine great reasons why we could all use some good therapy in our lives.
1. You’re at a crossroads.
Life is full of loss and full of transition. Coping with the loss of a loved one, considering divorce or ending a long-term relationship, starting a new job or considering a career change, moving to a new area, and children leaving for college are all times of transition in life. During times of transition and/or loss, you may find yourself contemplating difficult decisions. Therapy can help you to regroup, find your footing, and help decide which direction is right for you.
2. You need some affirmation.
To affirm someone is to provide emotional support and encouragement. Umm… don’t we all need this? Maybe you’re not getting enough of this in your daily life or you’re feeling misunderstood or unsupported by friends and family. You question your feelings, “is it normal to feel this way?” Therapy can normalize thoughts and feelings you have. Additionally, therapy can help you to reframe thoughts and feelings that are holding you back. A good therapeutic relationship will leave you feeling heard, understood, validated, and affirmed. And as you leave the office, you feel lighter, like a weight was lifted from your shoulders.
3. You’re caught up in the “shoulds.”
How many times have you said, “I know I should [fill in the blank]?” We often get caught up in how we should act, how we should feel, what we should do, how we should do it, and where we should be in our lives. When we’re not acting, thinking, feeling, or doing what we think we should, we think we must be doing something wrong. Which can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and envy. Therapy can help you to take a step back and start challenging those “shoulds” and questioning where they come from in the first place, whether your upbringing, your friends, society, the media, and sometimes out of nowhere.
4. You’re not taking risks.
Years ago, a wise woman shared with me, “we’re not living if we’re not taking risks.” But to be clear, I’m talking calculated risks here, not impulsively buying a new car with your credit card and hoping your end-of-year bonus will cover it. How many times have you said “I could never do that!” Why not? Because it’s a risk? Because it would take you out of your comfort zone? Because you’re afraid? Therapy can provide the confidence boost you need to step out of your comfort zone and uncover your potential.
5. You’re not taking care of yourself.
In life, you often feel pulled in too many directions. Overworking, over committing in your free time, taking care of the kids needs before your own. What would it be like to start putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others? Therapy provides that one hour per week that you get to focus on you.
6. You’re not meeting your goals.
Part of how we grow and change in life is to set goals for ourselves. And part of how stay stuck in life is to set BIG goals for ourselves and not achieve them in our unrealistic time frames. Then what happens? We beat ourselves up and tell ourselves all sorts of bad things like we’re not good enough, disciplined enough, strong enough, etc. BIG goals are great, but it’s helpful to break them down into smaller ones. Therapy can help you create realistic goals and objectives for yourself. Checking in with your therapist at regular intervals (typically weekly or biweekly) can help you to keep track of your progress and identify what’s holding you back from achieving your goals and ultimately getting in the way of your success.
7. Increased self-awareness.
Self-awareness is being conscious of our character, our feelings, our reactions, our motives, and our desires. If we’re not aware of what causes us to feel certain ways, its harder for us to understand and manage our own reactions. Wouldn’t it be great to understand why we feel certain ways in certain situations? And when we understand ourselves better, we often understand others better. And when we understand others better, that often leads to better relationships with our partners, family, friends, children, coworkers, employees, etc.
8. Treat the mind, treat the body.
Its estimated that one in four adults will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. Given it's a common experience, I’ll use that as an example. Some of the physical symptoms of depression include changes in sleeping patterns, appetite issues, weight changes, and loss of interest in hobbies. If you’re not sleeping enough, not eating enough, losing weight, and not engaging in hobbies that keep you active OR if you’re sleeping too much, eating too much, gaining weight, and non engaging in hobbies that keep you active, these clusters of symptoms can worsen the physical impact of depression on the body. Therapy can help treat the symptoms of depression and in turn, reduce the negative impact of depression on your physical health.
9. The benefits of therapy don’t stop when you stop going.
The benefits of therapy aren’t limited to that 50-minute session each week. Throughout the week, whether or not you realize it, you continue to do the work on yourself before your next session. And after you’ve accomplished your goals and no longer feel the need to go to therapy, the skills you learned will continue to help you for years to come as you deal with the stresses of life. Therapy may seem like a big financial investment in the short-term. But it would be short-sighted not to consider the long-term investment on your emotional and physical health and well-being.