When I started therapy back in 2013, I had no idea how much it would change me. Not only did I work through all the problems I was (or thought I was) having, but I also learned more about myself in that one year than I had in my entire life.
Since then, I have been a huge advocate for therapy and counseling. I would not be the person I am today without that experience.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, hardships, feelings and relationships, but many of us have thought about going to therapy at least once or twice our lifetimes. Sometimes hard things happen, and sometimes we aren't sure of the best way to deal with it.
The stigma around therapy and counseling has long been weighted on the shoulders of those who have and have not tried it. The reasonings behind going to therapy vary from person to person, and the amount of people who choose to try it has risen tremendously within the last decade.
Even with such an increase in popularity, it's surprising to find people still on the fence about it. Therapy can be a very intimidating and scary thing that can be really hard to talk about. In fact, many people still believe therapy is for the "crazy," “sick” or “emotional.”
If my personal experience has taught me anything, it's that therapy is one of the best resources a person can take advantage of. For those considering therapy, here is a list of things you should know.
1. It's not as scary as you think.
Sitting in a room with a complete stranger asking you to talk about things that may be very personal to you can be extremely intimidating. Let me first start off by telling you that licensed therapists and counselors have made it their life's work to make people feel comfortable talking to them.
Although it seems scary at first, once you take that leap and actually start seeing one, you will quickly learn how easy it is to just talk. Sometimes, it may take a few visits or more to get rid of the anxiety of putting yourself out there.
Really get to know your therapist better. Once you do, you'll feel a huge weight fall off your shoulders.
2. You shouldn't feel ashamed of seeking help.
You would be surprised by how many people go to therapy or have gone to therapy. There is no reason you should feel ashamed for doing everything you can to help yourself and make yourself a better person.
After I started therapy and got comfortable with it, I started talking about it to friends and family. I was surprised by how many of them had also gone or wanted to go, too.
3. You will learn unexpected things about your personality.
You will go into therapy with a set of ideas, problems or emotions that you want to work on. It is entirely possible there are other things hidden within you that you may never have know were there, aspects of your life you would never have imagined would get better and things about yourself you would never have learned before therapy.
You would be surprised how much your self-confidence will skyrocket simply by learning more about yourself and coming to terms with and accepting who you are. It could be that what you thought was the initial problem or cause wasn't the source of your worries at all.
4. You can stop your therapy anytime you'd like.
You are usually in charge of how many times and how long you want to see a therapist. Your therapist may make suggestions for you, but it is ultimately up to you.
Some people go more frequently than others. It varies person to person, but know that once you start therapy, that does not mean you can't stop when you feel it is necessary.
5. When it comes to therapy, you get what you give.
Therapy, as amazing as it can be, is ultimately what you put into it. Going into therapy with the idea that you refuse to talk or refuse to be open to being helped will usually not generate a positive outcome for you.
Therapists and counselors are very skilled in getting people to open up, but there is only so much they can do. You have to want to help yourself in order for someone else to aid you in that journey.
Therapy is not always easy, but if you put the effort in, it will almost definitely yield results.
6. For me, it was definitely worth it.
It's hard to explain to people who have never been to therapy how amazing it is.
Everyone's experience is different, but the one thing I can guarantee you is that it will all be worth it in the end. You can never know or imagine the spectrum of effects until you try it.