When was the last time you sat down and really listened to yourself about what you need and want from life? Have you ever scheduled a weekly appointment with yourself to prioritize your needs and desires and used the time so wisely that you left feeling radically productive, hopeful and inspired? Have you ever shared your deepest thoughts, feelings and concerns with another person who just totally got you, maybe even better than you get yourself sometimes?
While most people know that therapy is a place for expressing feelings and healing from pain, many people who have not experienced therapy don’t actually know what to expect from the quiet room with the couch. I get it, it’s an intimidating idea to share our inner voice with a complete stranger. What will they think? What will they say? What if I don’t want to do what is suggested? Is it safe to share everything? Will I be judged?
Here is the real deal about therapy and why people who use it, LOVE it.
1. Therapists normalize the human experience.
As a therapist, there isn’t much that I haven’t heard. There are themes and patterns that people in life go through at different stages. Chances are, you are more like everyone else than you thought.
2. Therapy is a private judgement-free zone.
We don’t share your name or your story with anyone without a purpose and permission. I talk about my therapy work with other therapists in my peer supervision group for my own support and growth as a therapist, but I don’t disclose any identifying information about my clients. Other than that, I need your permission to talk about you. Even with your permission, I am bound by professional ethics and will let you know if it is not in your best interest for me to involve others in your therapy. The only exception to that rule is if you are at serious imminent risk of harming yourself or someone else and you tell me so.
3. It is completely tailored to your unique self.
The time is 100% focused on you. That means we talk about whatever you want to talk about. We prioritize whatever you feel is a problem or an area of concern. We can develop goals for peace and happiness, personal growth, productivity, or anything you want really. If you identify an off-limits topic or something you are not ready to work on, that decision will be respected.
4. When we are in an emotional mindset, we can’t also be in a logical mindset.
When we schedule regular therapy appointments with a professional person we like and trust, amazing things can happen. (I know I am biased as a therapist, but having been on both sides of the couch, I know this to be completely true.) People get “stuck” when we are emotionally charged about something or have unresolved pain. It is hard to see things from an objective angle. Often we remain “stuck” in the same pattern of thinking and behavior. When a therapist helps us see something in ourselves that we don’t quite understand, it can lead to massive growth and change. That is why I see a therapist myself even though I have the education and experience of a being a therapist. I need that objective and supportive ear because I have emotions too.
5. Therapy is not opinion-based advice.
It is very different than what a friend or family member can provide. Your therapist should not tell you that you should divorce your spouse or that your feelings and behavior are wrong. We don’t claim to know everything. We simply listen, really listen, both to what you are saying and not saying. We offer support, education and compassionate feedback to help you discover what you want and need for yourself. We can teach you where your feelings and symptoms could be stemming from and strategies to feel better.
6. Living your best life matters.
You deserve to set goals for yourself and to have support, encouragement and guidance on how to obtain them. Don’t settle on a way of life that doesn’t suit or serve you well. If you don’t know how to make a change, but want to, give therapy a try.
7. Therapy is exactly the thing that is missing from our busy, overwhelming, ultra-convenient lifestyle.
It’s a safe space to have peace, quiet, intentional thought, breathe, feel, slow down and be present. Healthy things can grow in that kind of environment.
8. An investment in health is never a waste of money.
This is an investment in your mind– it doesn’t get better than that! As human beings, our brains can learn, change and grow all the time. If you decided tomorrow that you wanted to learn to speak a foreign language, you can teach your brain to do that. You can teach your brain to think and feel things that you don’t currently. What you think is what you live. Change your thoughts, change your life. We can show you how.
Schedule an appointment to see what therapy is all about. If you’ve been in therapy before and didn’t find it helpful, the therapist may not have been a good fit for you. Let us know what worked or didn’t work for you in the past and we will try to suit your needs better. We want it to be helpful! If we don’t think we can serve your unique needs well, we will let you know and offer support in finding a better fit for you. It’s completely voluntary and you can stop at any time. I hope you will consider giving therapy a try.
Tiffany is a licensed clinical social worker with 12 years of experience and the owner of Teamer Counseling. She enjoys working with children, adults and families. She has specialized training in the treatment of anxiety, depression, parenting difficulties, and trauma.