Do I Really Need a Therapist?

Do I Really Need a Therapist?

“I have handled my tough stuff before, why would I need a therapist now?”  You or someone you know has probably said this before.  It is true; sometimes you already have the tools to take on the challenges that life throws your way.  However, if you are feeling in over your head, having the courage to seek professional help for your emotional wellbeing is both a great way to grow and an effective way to heal.

Therapists: Your Guide and Your Toolkit for Emotional Wellbeing

As a culture that glorifies do-it-yourselfers, it can be hard to ask for and see the value of therapy. However, just like you take your car in for regular tune-ups, pay a preparer to fill out your taxes, hire a guide to take you scuba diving, or go to the emergency room when you need stitches, it makes sense to seek a therapist to help you deal with the tough issues you’re facing.  A mental health professional has been specially trained to help you navigate the murky waters of life’s big changes, transitions, relationships, and challenges, as well as helping you heal from more clinical mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, or anger, among others.

Your therapist, counselor, psychotherapist, and any other mental health professional you turn to has had many years of training.  This training teaches them a wide variety of strategies, techniques, and therapies, and how to apply and implement them to fit each person’s needs.  This kind of work doesn’t just help you address life’s current struggles; it also gives you insight into how to handle future challenges, shows you how to reach towards your goals more effectively, and allows you to establish better awareness of the world and yourself.

But I have Hobbies and Friends to Talk to….

Fantastic! Pets, hobbies, staying active, a strong support network, and positive relationships are a great way to help sustain your mental health.  These can relieve stress, reduce depression, and give you people and places to bounce your thoughts off of, while fulfilling your emotional needs.

Yet, no matter how fantastic your friends and hobbies are, they will not replace the work you can do with a counselor.  Because, unlike your friend, your counselor only has one motivation – your wellbeing. There is no pre-conceived idea of what you “should” do and anything you decide has no impact on the relationship. A professional is going to ask the hard questions, closely and carefully listen to you, and help you achieve better self-awareness.

While a friend who both challenges and listens to you is a rare thing and powerful thing, this is part of the job description for every counselor.  You can expect to get the help and advice you need in every session.

So now, think of therapy as a statement that proclaims, “I am taking care of myself and I am challenging myself to be happier, healthier, and more productive.”  This approach will help you approach therapy in a better frame of mind.

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