I have been attending therapy faithfully. I look forward to the day when I don’t require it any longer. At the same time, I encourage people to go. For some people, therapy is like an engine overhaul. For others, it’s like going in for a tune-up and alignment. After you live life for a while, you need, at a minimum, an oil change. Most of us take better care of our cars than our psyches.
I’ve heard many arguments around why therapy isn’t necessary, but I bring one valid reason to the table on why it is–you need new data to overwrite old, obsolete, bad data. Sure, you can walk the self-help road for a while, but there comes a time when even the best of us need to be challenged directly by someone who simply knows more or who is better trained at spotting false beliefs and poorly developed premises. We require accountability by someone who won’t become offended by our being offended when we are “seen”. What do I mean by that?
Well, do you know that feeling when you’ve been caught? Caught doing something not right or good for you? Really good therapists are good at catching us doing things that don’t benefit us. The people closest to us probably see us do these things, too, but they lack the third-party credibility that gives a therapist the necessary gravitas to push a point home. Plus, we are paying a therapist which means that we are somewhat invested in the time we spend in The Chair, or, at least, we should be. We don’t pay partners and friends to observe and comment on our habits, thoughts, and patterns of behaviors. In fact, that might feel really weird if a friend, for example, psychoanalyzed your emotional eating or double standards. Would you feel safe in the relationship after being exposed in such a way?
But, in your therapist’s office? It’s a safe space to explore the darker side of yourself. In fact, that’s why you’re there. To shine a light on your personal darkness so that your darkness diminishes.
If you’ve never been to therapy, then I encourage you to think about it. It’s not scary at all. If you haven’t been for a while, then ask yourself if it’s time for a tune-up. Are you feeling stuck in your life? Are there issues that you’ve been trying to tackle on your own that just don’t want to go away? Why not do it with someone? You’ll gain momentum and move through this season faster with the company of another person than by yourself.
It’s something to think about as you develop enthusiasm over your personal transformation.