There are a lot of stereotypes out there about counseling, and what it is they do. But, without experiencing it for yourself, it’s hard to know exactly what it means to seek therapy, and what goes on. Do they really “shrink our brains”? Are they just getting paid to hear rich people whine about their problems? Here are some things I wish outsiders knew about therapy.
- My therapist is awesome.
Seriously, she is amazing. She listens to me and guides me through some difficult stuff. She isn’t some crazy brain shrink, but she is actually a real person who I visit once a week. Sometimes she’s my lifeline. There are days when I have something going on and am clueless on how to resolve the issue. So, I lean on her for some guidance. She is objective. I mean, I can tell her things that the average person will freak out about and she will react calmly and objectively. Why? Because she’s probably heard worse.
- We talk about the good stuff too.
A big part of therapy is greeting my therapist and giving her an update on my life. Sometimes there’s a lot of good stuff going on, or even just a few. Either way, we talk about that and celebrate it. It’s not all about wallowing in the pain and heartache. We enjoy just talking about life sometimes and its latest ventures. It can be a huge relief to have good things to tell, instead of just stressing.
- We have goals, both short and long-term.
I have to have six-month evaluations to see how I’m doing, and we re-evaluate how we are doing things. We have goals we set within those six months, and we have goals set for the longer term. For instance, my ultimate goal is to be happy and healthy. I have a lot of shorter-term goals to reach before achieving such a goal, but we focus on each one differently. It’s about progress on many levels and at different times.
- Just because I’m in therapy, doesn’t mean I’m not doing okay.
When you tell someone you’re in counseling, it’s as if something serious happened for you to get there. I got back into counseling because I’m still on medication, and when I changed psychiatrists, they required counseling. Nothing serious was going on at the time. Sure, I have issues, and some mental health diagnoses, but I haven’t had a serious breakdown in a while.
The result of returning to counseling has been very positive, too.
- It may not be for everyone, but it could be for anyone.
You don’t have to have a mental illness, or major mental health issue to need therapy. Anyone at any time could probably use some therapy once in a while. Everyone is going to respond differently to it, and counselors are all different. You have to find the one that’s right for you. I have had a handful of counselors, and there’s only been one or two I’ve truly connected with. There’s a relationship that has to be established, and it’s tough. Also, everyone has problems. We shouldn’t be afraid to get some help for those problems.
Jessica is a writer, blogger and teacher. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Southern Illinois University and manages the blog The Science of Genesis. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, a good book or movie, and good conversation. Still battling her own mental illness, she spends much of her time learning how to help herself and others. Jessica has an eating disorder, borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. She has also experienced trauma, including domestic violence. She seeks to live a happy, healthy life through treatment and striving every day.