By Sunneta Johnson
There is a lot that can hold us back from trying therapy or counselling.
There is the idea that you have to be a little mad or harbour some huge strange problem to go see a therapist. It can be hard to see that therapy isn’t in fact for the select disturbed few, it is for everyone.
It is actually entirely ordinary to be rather confused, a bit anxious, and sometimes challenged by life circumstances such as relationships, family life or the direction of your career.
Really, the only qualification for going to therapy is being human.
- It is also a common worry about the strangeness of it all. It will be yourself and someone you’ve never met, to whom we are expected to divulge nothing less than our inner life.
Why not talk to a friend?
Well, firstly because friends aren’t properly trained to listen. As we may have noticed, friends might interrupt, often and redirect the conversation to themselves.
- Sometimes it’s actually easier to talk to someone who has no prior knowledge or prior knowledge or expectations of us. They have no knowledge about the big and important things about who we are unless we tell them.
- Therapists are the last people to ever judge us. Their concept of a ‘normal’ human being is far more expansive that that held by society at large.
- They know how unusual and surprising we are especially around all life topics from parenting to sex and relationship to anxiety and the worries that loose us sleep at night.
- A counsellor’s and therapist’s training takes them through a deep dive into their own minds and the minds of others.
- It doesn’t frighten them – it intrigues and motivates them. That’s why they become therapists in the first place. They are in the end, interested in mental health, basically just helping us to keep your mind healthy and thriving.
- What about the cost? Isn’t it a fortune? It might be the price of going out to dinner with friends, which is both a lot and not so much.
- It really just depends on the value we place on it. This is one of the important things to take away from this ramble.
Therapy IS VALUABLE.
- Did you know most extended benefits cover some form of counselling? If you don’t think they cover the kind of counsellor you want to see, it might be worth contacting the benefits company and asking what kinds of counselling they will cover and then speak to your counsellor about if they offer that specific service.
Many of our problems come down to not having enough insight into how our minds work; what do we want? What do we fear? Why do we act the way we do? We can often feel overwhelmed by our feelings.
- The main goal of therapy is self-knowledge.
- By talking a lot to someone who listens very carefully, over multiple sessions ( yes it’s hard to see results with only one or two session but not impossible) we may come to deeper insights into the mind we inhabit, patterns start to emerge and we start to see the particular ways we approach relationships, defeat, jealousy, family interactions and so on.
This is therapy. Knowing how to live isn’t an instinct we are born with, it is a learned skill and behaviours we acquire from those around us as we grow.
One of the best ways to learn more about these is in the outwardly, slightly unusual feeling but very normal discussions had in the productive setting of a therapist’s office.
It isn’t a sign of disturbance to go to therapy; it’s the first sign of sanity, of not being afraid of asking for help. It’s truly adulting and a grown up commitment to you, your child or your family’s mental health.