Therapy. It’s a word that makes most people cringe. It’s one of those things we don’t openly talk about because it’s “embarrassing.” No one (*almost no one) wants to admit they’ve actually paid money to sit in a room and tell a stranger about what they’re facing. People don’t like to ask for help. Our egos cry out, “No! You’ve got this man. You don’t need some weirdo writing down notes about you and teaching you how to cope. That’s for people who are on the edge, who have no other options, and are weak.”
I get it. It’s a sensitive topic. It’s private. It doesn’t need to be talked about. We should all just keep those kinds of things to ourselves, right?
Well I have a couple of questions for you. Have you ever gone to the doctor for a sinus infection that made your head feel like it was bursting open and your face feel like it was so full of gunk that you might never take a full deep breath again? Was it life threatening? (no) Did you pay her? (yes) Are you glad you went? (yes)
Have you ever sought out the help of a tutor, teacher, or coach for something you hadn’t quite mastered? Maybe it was a sport, a subject in school, or a musical instrument. You were pretty decent before you saw them but you knew you could be better, stronger, more confident. Did seeking out help mean you weren’t good enough before? (no) Did you learn a lot and get even better because of the experience? (yes) Are you embarrassed you went? (no, because now you kick ass at whatever you do)
If you’re into fitness and health, or if you just really like food (like me), have you ever paid someone to write you a program or meal plan? Used a meal delivery or meal planning service? If you’d really wanted to, could you have made your own food and hit the gym all on your own? (yes) Was it nice to have some guidance and not go at it alone? (yes)
All 3 of these scenarios involve you seeking help from someone who knows more about a given area than you do. Someone who has experience. Someone who is a professional in their field and wants nothing more than to help you grow, learn, and apply that knowledge to you life in order to increase your success and happiness. You don’t need any of them, but they sure do help make life easier.
That’s what a therapist (or counselor) is for. Smoothing out some of life’s rather jagged edges. Sure, some people seek out mental health professionals because of much deeper-rooted reasons or because they really do need them. But that’s not always the case.
I’ve seen a counselor at 3 different stages of my life. 1: when I was a child and my family dynamic was rapidly changing. 2: when I was getting ready to graduate college and felt an immense amount of stress and confusion. 3: when I found myself in the adult world and decided it was time to face some of the tougher challenges I’d sort of thrown under the rug over the years.
None of these were life threatening times, yet all 3 of these resulted in me feeling more balanced, more grounded, and more equipped to handle whatever life decided to throw my way. I paid a stranger to help me sort out something tough I was dealing with — much like I pay my doctor when my sinuses are killing me.
Think of therapists as doctors, mentors, coaches, and friends. They’re really good at what they do and we seek their help not because we are weak, but because we desire to be more full and more authentic. We want someone to listen and not to judge. We want someone to give us pointers on how to better handle life’s bumpy roads. We want someone to reassure us that whatever it is we’re facing, we’ll be more than OK at the end.
Life doesn’t have to be falling apart and you don’t have to be on the verge of a meltdown to see a counselor. You can go at any time and at any stage of life. You can go once or set up a reoccurring appointment. You can talk for 1 hour straight or say a few words and let them lead the way. You can ask for suggestions and tools or simply request a listening ear.
I’m a firm believer in seeking and accepting help from those who know more than me, who have been there before, and who truly care about my future. That’s why I keep a supportive and strong circle of friends, why I visit my chiropractor when my lower back is all out of whack, why I hired a coach to help me with lifting, and why I stop in and see a counselor when I feel my mind could use a little help.
You care for your body, you care for your nutrition, you care for your career… it’s about time we cared for our minds in much the same way.
Not sure where to start? Try this page.