Therapy can seem a daunting prospect. Talking to a stranger about your innermost fears and worries makes us feel vulnerable. Therapy is also a wonderful way to invest in yourself. Not only does therapy help you understand yourself better, but it also teaches you how to self-actualise.
Self-actualising: Living to your best possible potential.
Despite the benefits of therapy, there will always be fear of the unknown and uncertainty can push us to avoid therapy. Common thoughts include, “What if I am judged? What if the therapist thinks I’m crazy?”
These are common worries but they’re unfounded. Here’s why…
Therapy is confidential
Whatever you discuss with your therapist will remain behind closed doors. Therapists work with your best interests at heart and on the rare occasion when confidentiality would be an issue, your therapist would talk to you first before making a decision. Therapists have a duty of care to keep you safe.
Therapists are trained to be non-judgmental and offer a supportive space for you to explore your issues
The magic of therapy is that you are in a space where you can truly be yourself. You will feel accepted whilst easing your stress and anxiety. It feels good to be able to talk to someone about what’s going on inside your mind. Sharing eases the burden and helps us to feel connected. Connection also produces the feel-good hormone Oxytocin which increases happiness levels.
Therapy helps you to see your problems in a different light/a fresh perspective
It’s easy to get into a rut where we see problems in the same way. Without a shift in perspective, we can end up feeling stuck and helpless. Therapy is a proven way to adjust your attitude and find new ways of approaching your life. Whether you are experiencing anxiety, depression or just need someone to talk to, therapy sheds light on what hasn’t been working and helps you find solutions.
Therapy offers hope and helps you feel less alone
There is a common misconception that therapy is a serious endeavour but therapy can also be light-hearted and allow you to feel hopeful again. Therapists not only focus on issues in your life, but they also look at future goals and problem-solve with you. You work as a team, think of your therapist as your ally in life.
Therapy normalises your experiences
Therapy is life-affirming as sharing experiences helps you to feel that what you are experiencing is normal. No, you aren’t going mad and, yes, there are ways to deal with whatever is bothering you.
Many people mistakenly believe that therapy is self-indulgent and that there are people who are worse off than they are. While this is true, we all have our own issues and minimising your fears and worries is self-sabotaging. Therapy teaches you new skills and shows you that making comparisons is unhelpful.
Self-awareness improves when you experience therapy
There will always be things about ourselves that we aren’t aware of and a therapy helps you to be more self-aware. Self-awareness is key to a good quality of life
It’s a wise decision to try therapy and learn more, expand your awareness, knowledge and become a more balanced person.
Areas that therapy can help with
Therapy helps with all sorts of issues and here are a few of the typical life challenges that therapy can help you unpick:
- Relationship problems
- Childhood trauma and how this is affecting your adult relationships
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Social anxiety
- Health anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Low self-esteem issues/self-sabotaging behaviour
- Lack of motivation/direction
The different types of therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy
There are many different approaches and the type of problem you are experiencing will determine the most effective therapy. For example, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is very effective for many of the above issues. It is very focused, and goal orientated. Whilst CBT looks at your past, the focus is mostly on the here-and-now and what can be done to make immediate changes. Therapy literally rewires your brain and helps you to make long-lasting changes over time.
This therapy is useful because it helps you make connections between what’s happening in your life now and how it links to issues and experiences from the past. When you understand the ‘why’, you lessen the emotional impact of the negative experience.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR)
Useful for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thereby reducing and eliminating stressful memories such as a traumatic childhood, war experiences, or a car accident, to name a few.
If you are interested in therapy, but you’re on a budget, the good news is that low-cost counselling is available. Mental health services should be available to everyone who needs it and The Awareness Centre offer trainee therapists to those on a lower income.
Therapy can transform your life, it can teach you how to communicate more effectively, deal with conflict, be less affected by negative experiences and help you find positive ways to move forward and grow as a person. It’s worth a try – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.