Unfortunately in today’s social atmosphere, therapy is a kind of taboo topic.
Personally, I don’t mind telling others that I attend therapy when it comes up. I go once a week and I really benefit from it.
However, I’m sometimes hesitant to talk about it because although I understand it and know what it does for me, it seems to make a large number of people uncomfortable. I think a major reason for this is because they don’t know how to respond.
People may feel like they don’t know if that is a positive or negative thing, and they don’t want to offend me by picking one way or the other. As mentioned before, it can be a touchy subject. It’s not something many people want to have a casual conversation about. I hope in the future that can be different.
I try to improve this through my own actions, by showing people I am comfortable with it and using it in more casual conversation without making the other person feel like they have to comment on it.
I hope to further this by writing this post, where I will share my own personal experience and insight and hopefully share some useful information for those who may be wondering: what is this thing we call “therapy?”
What therapy isn’t
Because it’s so touchy of a subject, it’s rarely portrayed in the media, but when it is, it’s usually in some sort of comedy format.
I’ve seen jokes and memes about it on Twitter and Facebook. Many sitcoms have characters that go to therapy and they talk about trivial issues on the show and turn it into entertainment, which doesn’t accurately show what therapy really does.
The first thing therapy is not is a joke, or fun. This is kind of complex because it is definitely meant to help you feel better, and if you go, it should help you feel better in your every day life. I’m also not saying it can’t be uplifting and enjoyable, but the experience shouldn’t be trivialized.
At the same time, I don’t want to make therapy seem like something big and scary and sad. None of those are true. Therapy is a safe space – a place where you can speak your mind without fear of being attacked or judged. And in that way, it’s both not a place for entertainment, but it’s also not a place where “crazy” people go. That stigma needs to be erased.
Another thing I want to mention: Going to therapy does not make you weak. It is not a low. It is not shameful.
It is empowering.
When you go to therapy, you are sending a message to the challenges you face that you can and will rise above them.
You are giving yourself the tools you need to grow and prosper. That is strength. Not weakness.
What’s great about therapy
It’s impossible to solve a problem when you don’t know exactly what it is. And, there are some problems that you probably don’t want to talk about or share with other people necessarily. And that’s okay!
With a therapist, everything is confidential and they are invested in listening to you and what you have to say. They are an objective listener, so you can be honest with them about them judging you. If you’re unsure about something, they can help you.
While the topics discussed at therapy aren’t necessarily light and happy, I always feel lighter and cleaner when I leave, like that feeling right after you cry.
Even if you don’t come up with a solution to anything, there’s something about just getting the thoughts out of your head and responded to be someone else that is validating and can help you release some tension.
The main focus of any therapy session is you! You don’t have to talk about the same thing every week if you don’t want to. Our lives change day-to-day, so you can talk about any thing you want during your time.
If you have a new problem this week or something particular is bothering you, you can talk about it! Ideally, you’ll leave with strategies to approach this situation.
I know I am not alone when I say I have a really, really hard time scheduling in time to take care of myself. When a ton of other things seem more urgent, I feel like taking a break to do something for myself is a waste of time. However, this is so far from true. I know this, and still struggle with it.
But that is what’s great about a session once a week – it’s scheduled and set and so you can’t just skip it. The accountability is great and will keep you from putting it off (or never doing it).
- Sometimes your first visits can seem discouraging because you may not get too in-depth. That’s okay. Your therapist needs to learn a bit about you before they can truly help you with what you are looking to address. Keep going.
- Another thing to note: after going for a bit, you might realize that maybe you and your therapist don’t mesh well – and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to change therapists. It may seem inconvenient to start over, but it can be worth it.
- What I did in the beginning was go to multiple therapists for a couple of weeks and see which one I like the most. Any therapist will understand if you feel you fit with someone else better. It won’t hurt their feelings, I promise.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and this is in no way medical advice. I only aim to share my experience so that others can draw from it in a way that is best for them.