In part 1, I talked about 4 reasons the thought of therapy can be scary. You don't know what to expect, you're worried your therapist will judge you and everyone will think you're crazy, you can't afford it, and most importantly you'll have to be vulnerable. Again, you have to weigh the risks and the benefits. Most people find that the experience of going to therapy is worth it in the end, that they come out stronger and more equipped to handle problems that arise. But you have to be the one to decide for yourself if you are willing to take the risk and overcome your anxiety. In taking to heart the reasons I discussed, here are 8 reasons why you should process those fears and take on the challenge of going to therapy anyway.
1. Therapy is effective: It’s pretty simple. Scientific research shows that psychotherapy works. It’s effective for a number of presenting problems, and there’s even more research trying to uncover exactly why and how it works. We know the therapeutic relationship is important, that is, the relationship the client has with their therapist. Therapy is becoming more and more based in science and in techniques shown empirically to work. Therapy can help, therapy is effective. Period.
2. You can do things to prepare beforehand: Let’s go back to that fear of the unknown and that you have no idea what to expect. There are a number of ways that you can take control and learn exactly what to expect so that there are no surprises. Look up therapists in your area and go to their website. Read more about them and what makes them the right therapist for you. Get specific as you search. Ask your friends that have been in therapy about their experience. Call therapists that you are considering. They can have a consultation with you by phone, in which you can share what you’re looking for and ask them more about the therapy process. You don’t have to go into this journey blind, you can take steps to get informed and feel more comfortable.
3. Therapy is cheaper than alternatives: We also know from research that our mental health affects our bodies and physiological experiences. In other words, having high anxiety or depression can cause you physical health problems (some are even symptoms of the disorder). What’s the financial cost of having a hernia or a cardiac event that requires surgery and ongoing care? Or we could look at relationships. Divorce isn’t cheap and has significant financial impacts for both parties. What if we were to never get the oil changed in our cars and left the “check engine” light on for months or years? Would allowing our mechanical problems fester cause a higher bill or perhaps the need to purchase a brand new car? Of course it would. Fixing a problem by nipping it in the bud is almost always financially beneficial compared to alternatives.
4. The therapeutic relationship is special, and can model other relationships in your life: The relationship you have with your therapist is unique. You can completely trust your therapist with everything you tell him/her because you know they will protect your confidentiality. Your therapist will be there to support you unconditionally and won’t judge you. If you find over time that you are able to build a great relationship with your therapist, you will be more confident in trusting and feeling secure in your other relationships. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
5. Therapy can help you stop judging yourself: It’s time to get honest with yourself. Is all that fear of judgment really about what other people think about you, or does it come down to insecurity or judgment of yourself? What if you could let go of some of the ideas about how your life “should” be or the way you “should” feel? What if you could accept things for what they are? What would it be like to know that you are worthy and valuable without a need to justify that? What would it be like to stop judging yourself?
6. You can feel comfortable being the real you: Thinking about the point above, wouldn’t it be amazing to be comfortable and confident in being the real you? Imagine being able to show the world exactly who you are and not have to worry about being accepted. You could accomplish more of your goals, you could feel better about yourself, and you could have more meaningful relationships.
7. Therapy is a fluid process, and you have control: Nothing is set in stone when it comes to therapy. You can be honest with your therapist if something’s not working; how will they know if you don’t tell them? You can even tell your therapist that they’re not the right therapist for you. It won’t hurt their feelings, and can actually open up a significant conversation and show you that being honest about your needs can ultimately benefit you in a big way. You have control in your care and in your therapy. It’s up to you to take that control and advocate for yourself, which is kind of an important skill for life.
8. The payoff can be huge: As you may have gathered from some of my previous points, what happens in therapy sessions and in your relationship with your therapist have implications in your daily life outside of therapy. The relationship with your therapist can play into other important relationships in your life. Asserting needs with your therapist models how to do that in your regular life and problem solving, taking ownership of mistakes, and showing vulnerability are all skills you explore in the therapy room that translate to life outside the therapy room. Therapy can help you live a better life and be a better you. Is there a bigger payoff than that?
If you’re thinking about therapy and you ready take steps and make some changes, call me for a free phone consultation at (832) 827-3288. I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist located in the Clear Lake area of Houston, Tx. I can help you process your fears about going to therapy and answer any questions you have about the process.