Why would someone go to therapy? Because of significant traumas, severe depression, a personality disorder (borderline, bipolar, schizophrenia)? Or because of debilitating anxiety and panic attacks? Oftentimes it is not so severe. Perhaps it is more of a feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed, or a little sad and not sure why. Maybe it’s grief, or figuring out a big decision, or developing executive functioning skills or digging out the buried self-motivation. Body image issues. Low self-esteem. Feeling like there is nothing to look forward to…
If I asked each of my clients that question, I think I would get that many different answers. I used to try to simplify those answers under the big umbrella of “to make life better”. While that may be true, at least on some levels, there are so many other reasons.
Some may say my (mom, dad, spouse) said it would help me. Others did a whole lot of research and decided what kind of therapy they wanted (practical, cognitive behavioral therapy usually) and what specific goal they wanted to work on (depression, stress, anxiety, parenting, anger). I think others would say they have a whole lot going on in their head and don’t want to burden their loved ones with all they deal with, so they use their therapy time to unload (one of my first blogs was titled “Empty Your Head”). But in today’s consumer-driven world, combined with my own personal impatience, I think most of my clients are looking for some immediate change and success. And as most of you know, change is not always driven by logic (because if it were, nobody would smoke, overeat or do excessive drugs) but it requires emotion.
And to really make changes, the kind I can help you make, we need to do emotional work. It is hard, but it is good. We figure things out. “Things” being strategies and insights. We go deeper. We figure out even more. And then change happens. And life gets better.