Jenna Casey, PsyD
To be frank, we all need therapy.
In my professional opinion, I believe that therapy offers life tools that most people would benefit from.
What Will I Gain from Therapy?
In all sincerity, everything and more.
The benefits of therapy are multifaceted:
Many people find therapy a useful escape from problems and pressures of life. Some liken it to taking off one's mask that we tend to wear on the outside under which lies deep worries, pains, and insecurities.
In therapy, you will be encouraged to be your authentic self. For some clients, that means admitting weaknesses or vulnerabilities they otherwise pretend don't exist. For some clients, that means trying out new identities or behaviors. For others, it means speaking the unspeakable, however unsettling.
Your therapist won't expect you to have everything together. Therapists know that perfect people simply don't exist (including ourselves); therefore, you should never feel you are being judged by anything you have to discuss because 1) therapists have truly seen and heard it all and 2) counseling is founded on the premise of openness and honesty.
In fact, unlike friends or family, it is okay to completely unload on your therapist -- that is our job, to hold emotional baggage and validate your concerns. Many in the field consider therapy to represent a "holding environment," referring not to the literal, physical holding of a client, but rather emotional support through empathy, attunement, and most importantly, acceptance.
Many people find the supportive space of therapy a welcomed place to bring in their heavy thoughts and feelings. Most people gain relief simply from talking about their problems in what we therapists acknowledge as a 'talking cure.' In a world full of doing doing doing, we all need a place to unload our stress, worry, despair, and other burdens of life, and what better place than therapy?
· Sounding Board
Clients often report that simply verbalizing their concerns to another person, especially a qualified professional, helps them approach their problems in a new way. Although it is important to have friends and family whom we share our experiences with, these relationships cannot and should not substitute for a professional helping relationship.
In therapy, you will receive your therapist’s undivided attention as you discuss personal problems and you will answer probing questions that increase self-awareness. Welcoming reflection and introspection, your therapist will help you really come to know yourself and what your life is all about. In therapy you will explore the good, the bad, and yes, the proverbial ugly. Furthermore, you will be encouraged to express your thoughts and feelings openly and without judgment. Many people consider this the most cathartic factor of therapy.
Accountability is one of the biggest gems of professional counseling.
Therapists are specially trained listeners; we have spent years in school mastering how to be attentive listeners, attuned to nuances, omissions, and other important details of dialogue that will give insight into your true thoughts and feelings – it is this authenticity that supports accountability in therapy.
If you recall, in therapy you will be encouraged to be your authentic self. With this self-knowledge in hand, your therapist will then challenge you to enact the changes you wish to see in your life. Perhaps you would like to have more fulfilling relationships. Maybe your goal is to change unhealthy behaviors. Your therapist won’t just take your word for it. In therapy you will have a trained professional checking in on your progress, exploring inconsistencies between your stated goals and behavior, acknowledging positive strides, and instilling hope.
Of course, there are inherent risks in anything that is good for us (*one can in fact drink too much water), and there is no exception with therapy. While I believe that therapy offers numerous benefits, I am aware of the risks involved—time invested, money spent, and the possibility of a negative experience in some cases—however, overall, I believe that the potential for growth, support, and clarity far outweigh any risks involved.
I cannot guarantee that therapy will fix all of your problems or create a magical life full of wonder and free of hardship; however, I feel confident in saying that if you commit to the process and do the hard work, you will be investing in your health and your potential.
Are you ready?