Six Reasons You Should Go to Therapy This Year
Staff Therapist Ryan McMillian, DMin, MFT specializes in moving individuals and couples out of “stuck points.” Read on for his advice on how to have your best year yet.
The New Year is here, so it’s time for the annual review. Any goals left incomplete from last year, habits you wanted to develop or relationships you desired to enhance will all come under this end-of-year microscope.
While creating your latest vision board or parsing out the path to wholeness this coming year, there is one resolution that remains a must-add. According to the American Psychological Association, hundreds of studies have found that psychotherapy helps people make positive changes in their lives. About 75 percent of people who enter psychotherapy show some benefit. As a seasoned couple and family therapist, I confidently share this list of six reasons you should try therapy this year.
- A year of self-care.
In our society, a strong person is the ultra-independent one that manages multiple responsibilities with ease, while taking on the concerns of others. They appear to have it all figured out. I often illustrate these so-called strong individuals with the metaphor of a backpack. In the backpack, there is everything from the consistent pressure of meeting deadlines at work to the anxiety of financial stressors, and, of course the role of comforting, calming and problem solving in your primary relationships.
If you have to fill this role, then coming to therapy offers you a space to simply be. In therapy, you finally have a moment where you can dig deep to the bottom of that backpack and explore your needs that often fail to receive acknowledgment. Going to therapy this year will provide a space where caring for the strong becomes a priority. I believe that even for the strongest among us, therapy is an opportunity to share pain with an understanding and insightful listener. Therapy is a chance to take the load off.
- A year of transition.
For many of us, this will be a year of transition. You may leave your job, switch careers, welcome a child into your family, or move to a new place. In the midst of great transition there are important questions we ask: Who am I now? What is my value here? Can I do this? How will I be perceived?
Transition often points to shifts in identity. Your therapist will serve as an objective perspective on your complicated, ever-changing journey. They will join you on your search inward and walk with you into the uncertainty of tomorrow.
- A year of respectful communication.
Whereas holiday get-togethers may be a time to share laughs and memories, for some, it has become a political showdown. I see some clients who are no longer speaking with select family members, while others have to walk around on egg shells. It’s possible that the political tension exists on your Facebook page or maybe colleagues make subtle sarcastic remarks about in meetings.
Regardless of what your political views are, a therapist can understand your values and work with you to lessen your reactivity others you may disagree with. A therapist can even highlight ways you can turn your passion into purpose by developing your voice in ways that both respect you and others. One concrete communication skill you can strengthen in therapy is learning to respond rather than react. This will be applicable in many areas of your life, believe me!
- A year of courage.
Have you ever felt that if you make this one change, you would be happier? Have you then found it hard to make the change for fear that you would still be unhappy if you made it? If you responded yes to both questions, putting a therapist on your vision board may help you accomplish all the other quests on the board. Understanding and working through fears is often transformational for my clients. Therapy can be the motor that enables you to reach the goals you set this year with courage.
- A year of confirming securities rather than insecurities.
We’ve all heard that thought in the back of our heads, the “I’m not good enough.” Unfortunately, we often also find ourselves in relationship after relationship where this suspicion is confirmed. That inner critic looks for validation from others, but the truth is, we have to find that validation within ourselves.
This year, your therapist can help you find the voice of self-compassion. Just think, what if we heard and believed this voice instead of the critic? Gandhi once said “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Through showing yourself more compassion, you will develop an ear for others that see your strengths and talents as well.
- A year of quality relationships.
As a couple’s therapist, I imagine many would like to enhance the quality of their intimate relationship. It may be a volatile couple seeking to rediscover the passion, a new couple requesting tools for longevity, or a happy couple looking to build on their success. I have learned from my couple clients that the quality of their intimate relationship often impacts their professional, social, physical and emotional lives. This is the year to take your love to the next level!
You may have more reasons to add to this list. Pick up the phone and start with your resolution toward emotional health. Make it a meaningful New Year!