This is a question I’ve been asked so many times and there are variations of it that people use to check if they should go for therapy or not: “Do we all need therapy?”, “Do you think therapy will help and change my situation?”, “How long will it take for me to be better?”
When I hear these questions the first thing that comes into my mind is the fact that we are looking at this from the wrong angle. We assume something is wrong with us, within us, something might be broken and it needs fixing. Having that thought continually in our mind puts a lot of pressure on ourselves to be OK, when in fact reality shows us that going through different stages in our lives and learning to cope and move forward is the best thing we can do. So, the question shouldn’t be “Do I need therapy?” but “How can therapy improve the way I deal with life’s challenges?”. That’s the perspective I focus on when I sit down with my clients and listen to their story. My purpose is to help the client become the observer of his own situation and assess what he’s going through from different angles.
We get so caught up in our circumstances that we become blind to solutions. Emotions get in the way or negative thoughts block our process of moving forward, therefore we get stuck somewhere in our life journey.
Having a therapist to guide and explore this process can be very helpful and revealing as people often come with surface issues and later on they get to discover the actual issue and how that has impacted on their life. It is indeed a challenge to be able to sit with yourself and another person and unveil the layers of your life but the beauty of it is that you become aware of the ways you deal with situations, people, your own emotions and how that affects your overall life. That can only be beneficial on a long term because it tells you where you’re at the moment, it uncovers who you want to be and it pinpoints different ways to get there and especially why do you want what you want.
We don’t just show up in the world the way that we are. We are shaped by life experiences, interactions with others and we get to tell ourselves a story about life and the world. That story will have a great impact on our decisions and the way we decide to move on in life and how we face challenges.
Going back to the question “Who needs therapy?”, my answer is anyone who decides they do. It’s a matter of choice and most of the times, a matter of need. When we can’t cope with certain situations we often seek for solutions and help. Therapy can provide the right setting for that. No matter what you decide, you will learn to cope with your challenges. The only difference is that those coping mechanisms can be healthy or unhealthy and you will be able to assess them by their consequences and the emotions attached to it.
Don’t be ashamed to look for help if you need it. It’s a sign of strength and courage when you’re able to admit you need support and you’re open to receive it!