Reading a book is a static, one-way conversation.
And talking to friends about feeling unappreciated at home feels the same way. It’s possible to talk to a book, but the book cannot listen and respond to you. Those that are closest to us say, “That sucks, hey how about this New England weather, cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon.” Suddenly life feels very isolating.
You are the book in therapy.
When you speak to a therapist, you are the book that can be read, understood… and, most importantly, amended.
Bottling everything up is like being stuck in the mud. Self-help books, friends, and family all have a wisdom, but then it is overwhelming to implement and integrate it into our life. How many times have you heard, “Life will get better, just wait?”
On the surface it sounds like sage advice with inspiration and insight that is valuable, but what does it mean?
Therapy is dynamic.
In therapy, the book comes alive a la Jumanji (sans the lions, elephants, hippos). As the pages of your story turn and lead to new chapters, the experience is completely immersive.
Suddenly, the wisdom is customized to your exact situation. Accountability and adaptability allow you to emerge from the dark cave and experience command of your life.
We ask too much of ourselves and others.
When we see a six-month-old baby, we do not have the expectation this baby will stand up, run across the room, grab its bottle, and relax themselves. It’s just not possible at that age; they don’t have the muscle and thought process to do it.
Often, we lose sight of the concept that we need help and guidance at all stages of our life.
Open-up about the deepest issues
There are very few places in this world where we express our most guilt-inducing thoughts without fear of judgement.
Within the four walls of my office, this place exists – a place of trust, safety, and acceptance of all of you, even the thoughts that feel shameful.
“So why do you need to pay someone to ask you these questions?”
This is a common concern.
With people who know us, we don’t always believe they won’t personalize what we say. Our trust drops, and the walls go up. We ask ourselves questions such as:
Will they think this is a real issue?
Will they maybe use the things I talk about to their own benefit to manipulate me in the future?
Since they are my friends, will they see the gravity of the situation and just think this it is a phase?
Do they even want to listen? And if they do, are they capable of listening?
The Value is in having someone focus solely on you.
My job as the therapist is to focus on you without bias, judgement, or preconceptions.
Friendships are mutually beneficial; therapy is all about you. You can vent to and get advice from friends. What therapy offers is the commitment of an expert whose incentive is to better help you explore and understand yourself.
You become the focus. And when you’re the focus, it’s extremely hard to study yourself. We all have blind spots, defenses, and points of view which may prevent us from coming to an understanding of ourselves that we need.
Similarly, beyond having a therapist for expertise or time, the value is also in being far, far away from your social circle, so you can keep from censoring yourself based on what they’ll think. Say what you need to say.
Therapy can often be speaking truths you already know, but don’t have anyone safe to acknowledge them.
Something must be ‘really’ wrong, right?
Therapy can work for all types of people. The fact that a therapist is usually a stranger can help. People see someone who doesn’t know them, isn’t there to judge, but rather listen and help. This gives people the ability to “open up” and vent their problems. Sometimes it’s not about finding a solution, but just talking things all the way through and knowing someone is listening. Sometimes you really need a neutral person to talk to you who isn’t afraid to make you really examine your own actions.
So, what’s the benefit?
It’s amazing how much of one’s mind is hidden. I help shine light to what’s going on ‘below.’ Through that awareness comes dramatic life changes. Much therapy is about how you carry on a relationship and that requires another person.
Often coming into therapy, there is a sense something is not right – but you may not know exactly what is wanted or needed from therapy until it begins. A large part of therapy is often figuring out what you, as the client, want to work on. I act as a guide to help you find underlying issues and present different strategies to help you with your goals.
Like all treatments, some people just need a dose here and there to get by. Some people need a good starting platform and can ween off it forever. And others need it for the rest of their life.
Just like a music teacher or sports coach can reveal technical issues that hold back your performance, a therapist reveals your persistent themes and worries brought up in your sessions that you may not have the awareness to understand on your own. Understanding your emotional tendencies helps you feel more in control.
Therapy helps you see the process of thinking and emotions leading to anger at your loved one, so you can intervene and change the outcomes.
It’s simply easier to implement change when you have someone or some people on your side, helping to keep you on course. It’s not essential – just very useful.