Is Therapy a Good Idea for You?
For many people, seeing a therapist isn’t an exciting idea. You may think that you should be able to deal with any problem life throws at you, your family or friends will look at you in a negative light if they knew, therapy will become another vehicle for someone to tell you how to live your life; apprehension can manifest in many forms. Many times the apprehension is a result of the unknown: if you’ve never been to therapy before, you might be unsure of what to expect. This unsure feeling could be in regards to what you would talk about, what your therapist might do or say in the session, or both. I am here to provide clarity on why you might see a therapist and what you can expect in a therapy session.
Why See a Therapist?
The clients that I see come from various backgrounds with many different issues they’d like to address. I’ve seen everything from teenagers dealing with social anxiety to couples post-retirement that want to improve their sex life. No matter the severity of their problems, the common thread among my clients is that coming to therapy has had a positive impact on their life. Everyone has problems, but why should you see a therapist?
1. You Are Feeling Stuck
In some shape or form, every client that benefits from therapy is stuck in some way. If you feel paralyzed or agitated from anxiety, have constant fights or feel consistently disconnected from your partner, or have a frustrating or stressful sex life, you’re stuck. When you’re stuck, you might use ineffective coping mechanisms to deal with that stress. This can make the problem seem hopeless and keep you in that vicious cycle of coping ineffectively and feeling hopeless.
2. You Are Open to Being Open
Therapy is a space where you can be yourself. You can share your unpolished thoughts, past behaviors, and raw emotions without judgment. Instead, I will help you look at your experience from other points of view, think about different coping strategies, and ways to move about your world that work for you. It is rare to be truly open when you first come to therapy; most people are guarded to some extent. But being open to the idea of being open is key. If you’re completely closed off for the entirety of your sessions, you will likely remain stuck in the same place.
If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, communication problems, a diminished sex life, or any other problem, are feeling stuck but open to taking an in depth look at your life, seeing me or any therapist could greatly benefit you.
What is a Session Like?
Each individual’s or couple’s therapy session can vary widely from one client to another. Perhaps you’re coming in to address anxiety that you want to take deliberate steps toward improving. Or you have recently separated from your spouse or partner and need help processing what’s going on. You and your partner may want to work on communication. The exact discussion will vary greatly depending on the issues you want to address, but there are general themes:
1. Individual Therapy
In individual therapy, my goal is to work for you. What that means is that I have no agenda; I won’t try to pressure you to work on things or talk about topics that aren’t relevant to you. Of course, there are times where I will gently challenge you, but only for the good of yourself and the goals that you set. At times, therapy is goal-oriented, which helps you examine and work through issues you’re going through. Other times it will be an outlet for you to experience your emotions: letting yourself feel angry, sad, or disappointed. My goal as a therapist is to meet you where you are and walk together towards the goals that you want to achieve.
2. Couples Therapy
The clearest difference between individual and couples therapy is the extra person in the room. Couples therapy can also be quite goal-oriented; couples usually come into therapy when they have unhealthy communication habits and need support. This means that a lot of my couples sessions emphasize learning new ways to interact and talk with each other, along with processing your own reactions and feelings. At times I’ll have each of you speak and express to me and not your partner, whereas other times I’ll have you do the same with your partner and I’ll take a backseat to your interaction. For couples, my goal is to work for what’s best for your relationship.
Now, after reading all this, I want you to think about your situation. If you’ve never been to therapy and are reading this, there must be a part of you that is considering trying it. And know that trying therapy doesn’t mean that you sign a contract for a specific period of time. We are always here to meet you where you are. If you think it could help (which I find it almost always does), try it! Your future self will thank you.
Ben King, MFT
Former Staff Therapist
Request an appointment today.