Posted by: Dr. Jennifer Fee | October 6, 2010

The Top 3 Reasons to Go to Therapy

I talk to a lot of people who are “thinking” about going or returning to therapy, but for one reason or another have not taken the plunge.  I’m an expert on both sides of the “couch.”  Here’s my top 3 reasons that it’s a good idea to go (or return) to therapy:

1. Pain is Lousy!  The point is not whether or not you have issues that you can work on (we all have things in our lives that can be improved upon), but rather does the pain of those issues hinder you in any way from how you live your life?  Is anxiety keeping you from social events, making a carer move, or flying across the country to see your grandchild?  Does the struggle with being “down in the dumps” mean that you are not in the backyard playing catch with your son, reading to your daughter at night, or getting your work done?  Do you dread getting up to go to work because of your difficult relationship with your boss?

Too many people choose therapy as a last resort–when bad things either have happened (like losing a job) or are about to happen (a relationship in trouble).  Most people don’t wait until physical pain is unbearable until they go to see a doctor.  You don’t need to wait until emotional pain is so unbearable to go see a therapist.

2. The therapy relationship is unlike all others! The therapeutic relationship is different from other relationships in that is one of the few places anywhere that you are guaranteed confidentiality (with a few well-defined exceptions).  The safety of confidentiality helps you to take an honest look at yourself with a person that you can trust.  You can be sure that your therapist doesn’t gossip about you.  Good therapists are dedicated to both listening and understanding your world, every time you meet.  Therapists are to be honest with you, yet caring in how they communicate that honesty.

3. Therapy Works!  “Does therapy work?,” is a question that a lot of people ask.  So, like a good shrink I answer the question with a question, “what would your life look like if you could change it?”  Based on their answer, we can have a discussion about how therapy might help.

There is research whether therapy helps people, and you can research that stuff if you want to, but what you’re likely to find is a lot of unanswered questions and debate (for example, “is it the modality or the relationship or the person coming to therapy that makes it work?”).

So let’s just keep it simple.  No, therapy won’t solve all your problems and make life perfect, but you already knew that.  But maybe you need to hear that good therapy can make a powerful difference in your life.  I’ve seen it countless times of the course of my career.  I’ve seen the lives friends change dramatically.  I’ve experienced profound healing myself through therapy from both depression and frequent nightmares. 

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Jennifer Fee

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