Why Seek Therapy?
People typically come to therapy because they are wanting change or seeking something deeper within themselves. They may desire some sort of shift, and may feel ready to look at the challenges they face or confront the obstacles in their way. Some people may be dealing with life transitions or stressful conditions; others may be struggling with relationships or issues such as depression, anxiety, chronic illness, addictions, or any number of other concerns that cause them dis-ease. Others might want to develop a greater sense of self-awareness and a more intimate relationship with themselves. Ultimately, people are looking to find a place of greater peace and ease in their lives.
Have you been feeling unsettled within or thinking about something that you want to change in your life? Would it surprise you to know that almost half of all American households have at least one member in therapy? Though the reasons for seeking therapy vary, the goal is usually the same: people yearning for a change; people longing for something deeper.
Triggers that Inspire People to Seek Therapy
People’s motivations for seeking therapy range from an internal desire to change or deepen, to self-improvement or improved communications, to court-ordered counseling. Some of the most common reasons for pursuing therapy include:
- A sudden crisis or major life event: Major life events such as the death of a loved one, a career transition, or a changing family dynamic often prompt people to reach out for assistance. These events constitute significant life changes which, not unlike an earthquake, shift the landscape of one’s life. In addition to sadness, fear, or anger, this shift often brings about a sense of loss, confusion, overwhelm, and even estrangement in one’s ‘new’ world. Therapy helps in the process of working through the very normal but difficult feelings that arise, and assists one in moving more smoothly through the transitions.
- A desire to improve one’s self: People sometimes get stuck. They get stuck in patterns or dynamics or belief systems that may no longer be serving them. They may find themselves making (the same) poor decisions, losing motivation, or feeling defeated. Therapy can help people move out of their stuck places and fully back into life by facilitating insight and providing a sense of support and safety as they develop new ways of being. As your therapist, I work right with you, helping guide the direction of your movement.
- Help with mental illnesses: Mental illness and emotional distress are common problems that affect roughly one in five Americans ages eight and older. If left untreated, problems such as depression or anxiety or illnesses like schizophrenia can have a long-term destructive impact on one’s life. Therapy helps to effectively improve mental conditions and emotional states, resulting in change and lifelong benefits well after therapy has ceased.
- Substance abuse counseling: Substance abuse changes brain chemistry. It alters brain functioning by increasing dopamine production, a “reward” chemical that encourages us to continue doing whatever it is we are doing, regardless of whether it is helpful or harmful to us. It can be extremely difficult to make the choice to deal with substance abuse or addiction because it means we are making the choice to actually stop doing what we are currently doing; it can be scary, and perhaps even feel impossible. However making that choice is the first step to moving back into life where there is great potential for happiness and peace. Somatic and cognitive therapy are some of the most effective ways to treat substance abuse and addiction, and move one towards a fully satisfying place of peace and ease.
- Marriage and family therapy: Relationships require constant nurturing and maintenance. Without this, communication, trust, closeness and support can erode, weakening the foundation on which the relationship stands. Marriage and family therapy can help couples and families learn how to maintain and enhance the relationship. Therapy can help guide relationships back on track and strengthen their foundation, enhancing communication skills and creating ways of building trust and support.
What is the goal of therapy?
People also come to therapy to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and how they interface with the world. They may be looking for greater meaning in life or want to feel their emotions more deeply and experience life more fully.
As social creatures, we humans need others. Yet, there is sometimes a misconception that those who seek therapy are “weak” and can’t handle things on their own. In fact, the truth is that those who seek guidance and assistance are actually exhibiting strength. It takes self-awareness, resilience, and strength to acknowledge one’s own capacities and limitations, and to seek guidance and support in the areas where one struggles. Asking for help is a demonstration of what it is to be human.
Therapy is not about airing grievances. Through therapy, we identify the goals you want to achieve and gain a clear idea of where you currently stand. From there we identify our path forward together, and work on the steps to get there. Though the specific goal of your therapy depends on your unique situation, the benefits you will experience include improved confidence, heightened mental awareness and greater emotional balance.