By Shelley Collier
As we usher in the new year, the question of whether or not to begin therapy looms over many of us. Taking that step into therapy can be daunting, with misconceptions about it being reserved for those with "big problems." Contrary to popular belief, therapy holds valuable benefits for everyone, regardless of the season of life.
Here are 9 reasons why we can all benefit from therapy:
1. Emotional Well-Being: Cultural norms often encourage us to suppress emotions, especially for males. Therapy provides a safe space to explore and process emotions, fostering healthier coping mechanisms and preventing negative behaviors.
Most of culture tells us to keep things to ourselves or move on, particularly if you are male. We tend to stuff our emotions and find negative coping skills—lashing out, overeating, substance use or isolation. If we continue to suppress our emotions, they will come out somewhere and your body will hold on to them. Therapy is a space to examine emotions and reactions and find new ways to handle them, process and express them.
2. Identifying Maladaptive Thoughts: Our thoughts shape our lives, yet we are often unaware of underlying beliefs. Therapy allows for an examination of thoughts, uncovering assumptions that may lead to pain or hinder personal growth.
Our thoughts and our belief system drive our lives. The problem is we are unaware of our beliefs or assumptions. Therapy is a place where we examine thoughts and follow the trail of where those thoughts lead. Very often pain is somewhere lurking when we make assumptions or decisions about our emotions without exploring what thoughts we are automatically allowing to take root.
3. Processing Trauma or Suppressed Pain: Therapy isn't solely for significant traumas like war or assault; it's also invaluable for addressing smaller traumas such as job loss or relationship issues. Unresolved traumas can shape our present and future, making therapy a crucial tool for healing.
This one seems obvious as most people associate therapy with Trauma. Many do not understand that we all have an amount of trauma. Big “T” Trauma is war, death, assault, abuse, car accident, etc. What many often discount is little “t” trauma—loss of job, loss of relationships, compound stress, childhood wounds, etc. These smaller traumas are often the places were we had to “get over it” or adjust to survive. And maybe we did fine...but we never dealt with that change because we compared our trauma with someone else’s Trauma. Therapy is meant to work through
all of it, and likely after we work though the layers you will discover where you had hurt in your past that is dictating your life today. No matter what problems you may be having, therapy can benefit anyone.
4. Future Planning: Therapy aids in navigating life decisions, from educational pursuits to career changes. Planning for the future becomes more manageable when explored in a therapeutic setting, allowing individuals to make informed choices.
Planning for the future seems like a fun idea to many, and often many come to counseling and therapy to process future decisions—should I go for this degree or go to college at all? Should I move states? Take the job? Search for a new home? How do we prepare for marriage, kids, taking care of elderly parents? Some of these questions are the reason some are in therapy. Sometimes it's nice to plan these things hypothetically so that when the time comes you know what you want to do in the event that life changes quickly.
5. Adapting to Change and Life transitions: Life transitions, whether expected or abrupt, can be challenging. Therapy provides support in navigating the associated fears, pains, and growth, ensuring individuals don't face these changes alone.
This piggybacks off of number four. When life has natural transitions whether we are expecting them or not, feel prepared or not, wanted them or did not want the change, Change is a big deal. Sometimes is needed and celebrated, other times it is literally a shock to the system. Then, if change is paired with depression or anxiety, you have a storm that you do not have to navigate on your own. Therapy is where we work through the fears, the pain, the growth, and even the pain of when you wanted the change and it was not what you expected. Most of us experience a fear of change, so everyone can derive value from working through it with an impartial therapist.
6. Exploring Fears and Values: Fears and values guide our lives, but sometimes they lead to anxiety. Therapy offers a space to explore and reassess these values, helping individuals align their beliefs with their true desires.
Again, this one is connected to the others, but fears and values direct our life. When we are scared to fail, it shows we value doing well, being accomplished or successful. Often our values are not wrong, but when the weight of them cause anxiety which is a child of Fear, then we have to reassess values or explore where we put our hope...insert therapy here. I will say we can do this with friends and family, but they influence both values and fears and often project or give their opinions without considering what you may believe or want or feel is necessary. We can explore your values in therapy to uncover your true beliefs. Which leads us to Number 7...
7. Unbiased Support: Unlike friends or family, therapists provide unbiased support. They refrain from imposing their opinions and instead walk alongside clients, reflecting their thoughts and allowing for self-discovery.
The best part about therapy, which sets your therapy relationship apart from your friends, coworkers, family, or little league crew, is that the therapist do not know you. You teach your therapist and show them who you are over time. As therapists, we actively remain unbiased in our desires for you and our opinions you. We may have opinions, but do not voice them unless it’s a.) wanted, b.) helpful c.) professionally appropriate and with professional understanding about the overall human condition. If you have a therapist who tells you want you should do, how does that help you find your own way? That’s not our job. What is our job is to walk with you, reflect back to you what you say so you can hear it well and not give advice.
8. No Judgment Space: Therapists offer a judgment-free zone where clients can freely express themselves. This liberating environment encourages open communication, fostering trust over time.
Literally, your therapist has heard everything. There is not much you can say that will shock us. Yes, we are human and sometimes we feel the shock you do about your circumstances and events but our job is to create a safe space for you to share all of you. Finding a therapist that won’t cast judgment is normal because it’s our job. Doesn’t that feel more freeing to let it all out? But, we also know how all relationships naturally work; You need space to find out if a person is safe in any relationship. This does not change when you come to therapy. You deserve to have space to see if each of us is trustworthy of your story. We go at your pace. I think people fear therapy for being judged—believe it or not therapists have that fear too! So, test the waters and get to know your therapist. Let them show you your life story is precious and they can hold it well. This takes time, which is why it’s good to start when you can so that when life gets really hard, you have someone you already trust to lay it all on the table with.
9. No Drama—We aren’t going to tell anyone (except if physical harm is involved): The confidentiality of therapy allows clients to share without fear of judgment. Therapists only break confidentiality in cases of harm to oneself, others, or if a signed Release of Information is provided.
Yep, the only way we would break confidence with you as the client is: if you are being harmed, you are harming someone else, or you are harming yourself. We don’t talking about your stuff to anyone, and if someone calls to ask, we act like we do not know you! We have to have a signed Release of Information for anyone to know anything about you related to therapy. If you are a minor, your parents do not get to know everything that happens in therapy. Parents, we tell you want you may need to know—if there is harm or progress on treatment goals. This can be freeing as well because we all have that friend or family member that we want to tell something to but we know they will tell someone else.
In the words of an actual client, "I know the answer deep down, but I need someone to reflect it back to me." This client needed reflection of their own values back to them to help them see what they really feel. Therapy offers a mirror for self-reflection, enhancing awareness and facilitating positive change. Awareness of our own feelings, thoughts, beliefs and behavior are key to change and to decreasing problematic stress. Whether you're proactively managing stress or struggling to get by, therapy is a valuable resource. Don't wait—start your therapeutic journey now because it does take time. Why not begin now? What would your future self say if you began therapy now instead of later?
Begin Working With A Therapist in Marietta, GA
Please consider reaching out to a qualified therapist. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to offer support with in-person and online services from our Marietta, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
Other Services Offered at Remain Connected Counseling
Our team knows you may experience other issues in your life. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of services including teen therapy, anxiety treatment, and EMDR therapy. In addition, we also offer life transitions therapy and depression counseling, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. By using online therapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia. Learn more about our team of dedicated therapists and contact us for more information.