“Anyone can learn on their own”….”I can figure it out on my own, I always have”… These are common statements and thoughts that people express in questioning why the need for therapy. The reality is that, yes, we can all figure it out. The question is how fast and how effective?
When you have car trouble, health issues or you simply want to learn a positive new skill (e.g. learn yoga), do we figure it out on our own? Do we YouTube-it? Chances are, we acknowledge our limited ability to sort it out and we simply put our minds and energy into searching for the right expert or guru!
So why should therapy be different? A car is an important transportation medium and is very valuable. More valuable than our mental health or the possibility to grow as a person?
There are several reasons some people avoid therapy. One, is the stigma associated with seeing a “shrink” or a therapist. Many people still associate attending therapy as maybe not being totally sane or maybe being somewhat “crazy”. This stigma many times comes as part of our upbringing and, at times, family-of-origin conversations (e.g. “my parents don’t believe in therapy”).
Another reason is that most times, interpersonal problems, mental health issues, stress, anxiety, etc. happen gradually. We are a very adaptive specie and we learn to live with these shortcomings or stressors. Over time, these issues usually keep increasing, almost like the snowball rolling downhill until it becomes too late and we face an avalanche!
Finally, going to therapy involves opening up and sharing some of our vulnerabilities. When we drop our car at the mechanic, it’s all very impersonal (“the car is heating”, “breaks are squeaking”, etc.). It’s a lot easier to address car problems or even medical issues (e.g. having frequent headaches, having chest aches, etc.) than to open up to a total stranger.
As we think of these deterrents to seeking therapy (sometimes a sign of avoidance, denial or simple fear) that wonder in our mind, our therapeutic process has begun! We start to take a more detached, insightful, and objective perspective to therapy, and chances are we start to be more inclined to addressing one of the most important aspects of a human being: mental health, peace, growth.
As additional thoughts to help you feel more positive about therapy, not only are psychologists thoroughly trained with proven techniques and protocols, we are bound to confidentiality and to have a nonjudgmental attitude. Our goal as psychologist is our client’s well-being!
So maybe, as we take time to reflect in some of our many challenges, we gather the insight and courage to reach out and to start a journey of healing and growth!