If you would have asked me what I thought about therapy ten years ago, I would’ve give you a smart-ass remark about how only insane people go to therapy.
Ask me now, and I would have to say I guess I’m one of the insane people.
I started going to therapy four years ago, and it completely changed my life — not in the cliché, I went once and it didn’t actually change anything, but I like to say it did, way; like that shit works. So, for those of you who have never gone and either think like me ten years ago, are debating on going or have never thought about it at all, here are something things you should know about therapy.
1. It’s not magic.
It’s not a magical fix for all of your problems, and your therapist is not a genie granting all your wishes. She or he will not tell you what to do or draw you a map for your life. They will listen to you and talk things out with you, in that process you will discover things about yourself and situations you discuss.
2. It’s hard work.
It’s not easy; in order to make any kind of change you have to be willing to work for it. You can sit across from your therapist all day, but to see progress in your sessions, you have to put forth effort in your daily life.
If you and your therapist are talking about how you’re a pessimist and you don’t work towards figuring out why and changing that, there will be no progress made in your sessions. You’ll continue talking about how you’re a pessimist.
Be willing to do some work.
3. It’s emotional.
You can go from having a smile on your face to balling in the matter of seconds. All it takes is bringing something up that triggers a reaction and it happens often. There will be times you will think you’re a basket case while you’re trying to stop the snot from dripping onto your lips, wipe away your tears, catch your breath and talk all at the same time.
Hear me when I say, this is progress. If you’re digging this deep, you’re doing something right.
4. It takes dedication.
Going once a year won’t do anything. In order to see the change and the progress you’re making, you have to go frequently. Everyone has different opinions on how many times you should go; I say twice a month is good, but I know people who go twice a week.
5. It’s scary.
Putting yourself in a vulnerable position and acknowledging all of your flaws is terrifying. Every time you walk into a session you are opening up to someone, and that’s not an easy thing to do. You’re trusting someone else to see you for who you truly are. You’re also realizing a lot of shit about yourself that you might not have already known.
6. It takes honesty.
You can’t go into therapy with lies. It doesn’t do any good for you or your therapist to make up shit.
Don’t try to make them feel bad for you or try to downplay a situation. If you’re working on trying to stop spending money, don’t say you only spent five dollars last week if you really spent seventy-five (this was one of my first mistakes). Be completely honest if you want it to work.
7. It’s rewarding.
Not only is therapy rewarding to yourself, but it’s worthwhile for your friends and family too. You’ll learn to love yourself and others more; you’ll be happier all around. It’s one of the more rewarding things in life.
Going to therapy is all about to get better from something, whether it be a bad breakup, a money spending habit, low self-esteem or anything else, and there is nothing more gratifying to you or your loved ones than making yourself into the best version possible.
8. It’s about you.
Your therapist is focused on you. You should be focused on you. Your therapy is about you. While people in your life may have an effect on you or your situation, it’s not about them. You can still talk about them in a certain situation, but therapy is not about how you can change other people, it’s about change for yourself and how you react to those people.
9. Going to therapy doesn’t make you insane or crazy; it makes you strong and brave.
You’re acknowledging that you want help with something in your life and that is amazing.
As long as you put forth the effort, take it seriously and focus on you, then therapy can change your life. It can mold you into the person you want to be; the person you envision in your head, but aren’t sure how to get there.
So, break down the walls, stop labeling therapy as crazy, dig deep and face yourself.
It’s time we all started going to therapy. We can all use some help becoming our best selves.