Would we say that people who work out must be sick or they wouldn’t need it? Hell no. But we still hold on to this antiquated idea that you must be crazy if you go to therapy. Attitudes like the one shown in the Huff Po article are only perpetuating the medical model of therapy – that you go to therapy to treat an illness. In fact, therapy is just as useful in the wellness model of getting healthy, achieving potential, and making a good life better.
In the vein of the wellness model, here are more reasons to try therapy:
You want to love and accept yourself – Many people have difficulty with this, and they’re not necessarily depressed or afflicted with another mental disorder. Therapy can help you explore roadblocks to self-esteem and teach you practical ways to make your happiness a priority.
You want to make a good marriage great – Many relationships are functional, but are no longer fun. Couples counseling can help improve communication and strategize ways to return passion and excitement to a marriage.
You want to thrive in your career – You say you’re unhappy where you are, why aren’t you striving for something different? Is fear, hard work, or interpersonal conflict holding you back? Therapy can be the catalyst for healthy change in your career.
You want to understand your purpose in life – Many therapists love to dive in and help you find out who you are on a deep level, helping you uncover the passions buried under the busyness of life. A desire for this time to self-reflect may mean that…
You want one hour each week to focus completely on yourself – Therapy is a course where you are the subject matter. You can explore yourself, go deeper into your current thoughts and feelings, or just sit and “be” for a while. This vital practice has become a forgotten art in our world today.
You want to let go and forgive – Holding a grudge isn’t a diagnosable condition, but it does have serious physical, emotional, and relational consequences. Through therapy you can learn to resolve these issues for yourself and move on.
You want a place to practice assertiveness, expressing emotion, or anything else – Therapy is a laboratory for you to explore, experiment, and practice behaviors that are scary in the rest of life. Shy people can practice confrontation. Detached people can experiment with expressing emotion. When you’ve tried this out a few times in session, you may be ready to take it out into the world. (more tips for clients in therapy here)
There probably are a few dozen other helpful reasons, however Ryan hopes you get the point: therapy is helpful for treating serious problems, but it offers much more. If we can move past the medical model myopia that contributes to therapy stigma, perhaps many more people will come to understand therapy’s benefits first hand.
(Source: Ryan Howes, PhD)