Here’s Why Everyone (Even Happy People) Should Try Therapy
Bad breakups, grief, depression, addiction—hardships like these often bring people to the therapist’s couch. But what if you’re not in a moment of “disaster relief?” Surprisingly, the best time to start therapy may be when your life’s going relatively well.
Despite the fact that more than 59 million Americans seek the services of a mental health care professional each year, there’s a stigma that therapy is only for people suffering a debilitating mental illness or going through a massive interpersonal issue. But that idea is as dated as phrenology.
“The benefits of therapy extend far beyond periods of crisis,” says Ryan Howes, Ph.D., a California-based psychologist and writer. “Many people want more than to be ‘not depressed.’ They wonder what they can do to be the happiest, most productive, most loving version of themselves.”
Because achieving your full potential requires a heck of a lot of self-knowledge, self-control, and—let’s be honest—hard work, it’s best done when you’re not in freak-out mode.
What’s more, if there’s an issue in your life that’s causing you distress, it’s better to deal with it sooner than later. Over time, minor difficulties can bloom into disasters that have you hitting the tissue box hard. But the earlier you go to therapy and engage in introspection, the better off you are in the long run.
Interested in kicking off therapy during a trauma-free time, but still have some questions? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some common concerns raised by those on the fence about seeking professional help.
Can’t I just talk to my friends?
Hey, by all means bounce your internal thought processes off close buds and sympathetic family members. But there’s a reason to go to a pro: Will your pals and relatives grant you undivided attention? And will they be totally unbiased? Not likely.
The benefit of seeing a mental health professional is that it’s literally their job to reserve judgment and guide you toward what’s best for you. “If a client says he wants to quit his job and my gut instinct is to yell, ‘No!’” says Howes, “I have to examine that, be aware of why I’m feeling this way, and temper my reaction so that the session remains about the client—not about me.”
But what if people think I’m nuts?
It’s possible not everyone will react favorably if they hear you’re seeing a shrink. But psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D., author of Insecure In Love, says that folks who hold their own prejudices about therapy “often come around to supporting treatment once they see that it makes a person happier.”
Her advice for challenging those who give us a hard time: Tell ‘em, “I’m trying to help myself get to a happier place, …read more