Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with therapy. This space has provided so many good, beautiful moments for me over the years, and even when I learn something that isn’t always so positive about myself, I’m grateful for the space that’s been created to process and feel. But, as someone who has seen a number of therapists over the past decade, it can also be extremely frustrating to try and find that space, or create it for yourself. In my opinion the benefits usually outweigh the cost, but the point I want to make today is that anyone – yes, anyone – can benefit from therapy. Here’s why.
As much as we don’t want to admit, there’s still a stigma around therapy in the United States. Though things have arguably improved, the stigma is still present and persistent in many ways, both from others and a self-stigma many people attach to therapy.
One of the biggest sources of this stigma is the belief that therapy is only for people who experience mental illness. There’s a lot I could say here (especially as someone who once refused to see a therapist because my depression “wasn’t that bad” – whatever that means) but simply put, therapy isn’t only for someone experiencing a mental health crisis. There are a million and one reasons why it would be appropriate to talk with a therapist, ranging anywhere from coping with difficult emotions to relationship problems with friends, family or romantic situations. All of us have things we deal with, and therapy can be a space created to name those things and learn how to manage them.
Simply put, anyone can benefit from therapy. Will it solve all your problems? Unlikely. Will your whole life change because all your stress is gone? Probably not. But we’re human, and we will always have things we need to deal with. Therapy continuously helps me learn how to deal with the challenges of being a person who’s on this Earth right now which, as you know, isn’t so easy or simple.
Going to therapy also isn’t permanent. Just because you start seeing someone for a few weeks, months or even years, that doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. Your wellness journey is your own, and there are many different ways to achieve wellness, peace and calm – therapy is just one of the many ways this can be accomplished.
Simply put, therapy is not just for people who experience mental health challenges or experience mental illness. We’ve all been through (and are still going through) a lot these days, and having places to let out those emotions and feel like we can express ourselves safely has massive long-term benefits. Whether or not therapy is for you, I hope that this post is another drop in the bucket to shrink the stigma around getting help and talking to someone when you need it.