With the rise of positive psychology came the idea that psychologists are too focused on what is wrong with us rather than how humans can flourish and thrive.
The stigma that therapy is only for "damaged people" still wrongfully persists; society must admit that going to therapy does not mean a person is crazy. In fact, speaking with a counselor can be beneficial for everyone. We are all human, and at times, all humans need some help.
Whatever you say to your therapist is strictly confidential unless he or she feels you are a risk to yourself or others. By taking you on as a patient, anything and everything you say is in confidence, unlike speaking with a friend; a friend may breach your trust, while your therapist absolutely will not. Therapy sessions are judgment-free — since you will never know personal information about your therapist, you won’t feel the need to tiptoe around your words in efforts to be inoffensive.
Therapy Is A Tool
You don’t need to be depressed or sad to seek help. While a conversation with your friends might not touch all of the topics you wish to cover, a therapist will sit, mainly in silence, let you speak and ask you questions to help you organize your thoughts.
My therapist has asked me questions that I never thought to ask myself, which in turn, shed light on the problems I faced. Counselors are great resources for planning your future, confronting daily anxieties, addressing relationship issues and even addressing personal concerns like drug and alcohol abuse, sexual orientation, social anxiety, stress management and long-term planning.
If you are anxious about being with a counselor one-on-one, group counseling services are also available. Rather than focusing solely on you and your issues every week, groups focus on particular topics and themes. In helping others navigate through struggles, you will discover answers to some of your own anxieties, problems and questions. Groups also adhere to confidentiality policies and participants are not to discuss sessions after they occur.
If you are covered under your parents’ insurance policy or are still a student, you may be covered for therapy. If money is tight, or you don’t want to tell your family that you want to attend therapy, most schools offer free counseling services, so use them.
Some of my friends have told me therapy didn’t help them while others swear by it. Your attitude about receiving help and making changes is the primary factor in whether or not counseling can help you. It’s silly for you to think that your therapist will have all the answers to your questions; however, it would be wrong not to try to work with him or her to discover those answers for yourself.
Don’t get discouraged if your first few sessions don’t transpire seamlessly. It takes time to get used to working with a therapist. If you feel incompatible or uncomfortable with the one you’re seeing, switch therapists.
Photo credit: HBO