When you’re going through a stressful time or struggling with anxiety/depression, it can be difficult to ask for help, and it’s made even harder by the stigma that therapy can carry…which is exactly why we’re breaking down what no one tells you about therapy…but should!
Finding The Right Therapist For You
When you’ve decided that you’d benefit from the support, it can feel daunting to try to find the right therapist. It can be overwhelming to find a therapist that makes sense financially, has an approach or specialty that you identify with, and makes you feel comfortable.
Once you do find someone that feels like the right fit, it can be intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. Or perhaps you do have a sense of what therapy might be like for you, but then are surprised by how different it is from what you had imagined.
Thoughts like this may make you wonder about the whole process. Here are some things that no one tells you about therapy, but they should!
In today’s culture, as the importance of mental health is becoming more widely discussed. Therapy is not as stigmatized as it once was. It is much more common for people to seek mental health treatment.
However, it’s often not something people feel comfortable talking about with their friends or family. If you’re reading this, you may be considering seeking help from a mental health professional. Most likely, you have some questions.
With that in mind, here is what no one tells you about therapy – but should!
It’s not quite like what you’ve seen on TV
Even if you’ve never been in therapy, you probably have some idea of what it’s like from TV or movies. The way pop culture portrays the therapy setting and what mental health treatment looks like is often not based in reality, but made to be entertaining to viewers.
You may have seen clips of therapy sessions that show therapists interpreting your dreams, or sitting silently on a chair while you talk for the entire session, or making you take tests to determine what kind of personality you have. You may have been led to believe that therapy can quickly fix your problems, make you feel better right away, and give you solutions to your life circumstances.
Also, many people think the entire session is devoted to discussing your early childhood years and the effect your parents have had on your life. While many therapists will want to explore your history to uncover behavioral patterns and emotional memories that have helped shape the person you are today, the idea of therapy is NOT to blame your parents for all of your current troubles.
While some of these approaches may be used in therapy, every relationship and treatment plan is tailored to the individual. In addition, therapists often use a variety of techniques and approaches to help explore your history, understand the way you think and behave, and teach you tools and coping mechanisms to handle the stressors you face.
You Won’t Feel Better Immediately
The ultimate goal of therapy is to create better habits/behaviors that lead to creating a happy and fulfilling life. However, the process of getting there can sometimes be uncomfortable. Therapy can make you feel more anxious or emotional in the short term, while you are doing the hard work of facing your problems and uncovering the meaning behind your symptoms.
It is unrealistic to expect you will feel better immediately. Therapy takes time and commitment. It is important to keep in mind that therapy is a process. It’s not a quick fix, and it may take weeks, months, or even years to really see lasting change.
You Have to Want to Change
You can seek advice from a nutritionist and personal trainer who will give you the tools to get fit and healthy. But if you don’t take their advice and put in the work, you won’t see results.
The same is true for therapy. Your therapist will be gentle and kind and go at a pace that feels comfortable for you. But, ultimately you have to put the work in and be motivated to get better.
Therapy is a collaborative process, one in which your therapist is there to guide, teach, encourage, and support you. But, ultimately the change lies within you and how committed you are to engaging in the work.