Therapy is an important step towards healing for many people. However, there are many stigmas and misconceptions surrounding it. They can make it hard for people to seek help or to get the help they need. Recognizing the need for professional help is a lot easier than going through the steps necessary to get it, but when you get the help you need, it’s worth the effort.
1. There are different kinds of therapies.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is by far the most common and easily accessible therapy, but there are other methods as well. CBT works best for short-term, mild-to-moderate problems and for people who have trouble recognizing and regulating their emotions. If you need help over a longer period of time or have more serious issues, you might need to find a more specialized form of therapy. A good therapist will also modify their approach to account for a patient’s unique situation.
2. Progress is slow.
It can take more than a few sessions of therapy for you to notice it taking effect, especially if the problem has been building up for a while. It’s easy to grow impatient, but that doesn’t mean the therapy isn’t working. It takes a long time to change your thought patterns and daily habits. Without being able to see the forest for the trees, it can be hard to see the progress you’re making. And if you have a more chronic issue, sometimes the goal isn’t complete recovery but getting the symptoms under control.
3. You need to put in effort outside of your appointments.
Part of the reason progress can seem slow is because you need to put in effort outside of therapy appointments. Often, therapy doesn’t involve just talking about your problems. It involves making changes to the way you think and live so that the problems don’t have as much of an effect on you. You might be asked to keep a journal, meditate, or exercise. It’s hard to change your habits but it’s an important part of the process. If something your therapist suggested isn’t working, you can bring it up during your next appointment and try to find a new approach. But you can’t have that conversation if you never make an effort in the first place.
4. There are good therapists and bad ones.
Sometimes you have to go to a few different therapists before you find the right one. When you’re with a good therapist, you feel safe and comfortable opening up to them. They help you find ways to improve your life outside of their own office. They don’t condone or encourage destructive decisions such as toxic relationships or substance abuse. It’s normal to be apprehensive when meeting a new person, but if after a few sessions you still feel uncomfortable around your therapist, it’s worth looking into why.
Your mind is arguably your most important organ. It’s important to take care of it, and sometimes that means seeing a professional as you would if you had problems with any other part of your body. Advocate for yourself and make sure you’re getting the help you need to live a healthy life.