8 Reasons Why Therapy Is For You
Written by: Elizabeth O’Donnell, Social Media Management Intern
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When I was nine, my mom sent my younger sister and me to a counselor, and I was mortified. Looking back on my mother’s decision to send us to therapy, her reasoning made sense. What seemed like overnight, my parents had gotten divorced, my dad had gone to prison, our new family of three moved 8 and a half hours away from most of our family and friends, and my sister and I started at a new school.
Needless to say, we needed it. But I did not want it. At all. We would go, and I would fight to talk about my feelings, color, play games, say I was fine, and only hit on the surface level issues. The one time I did open up, I was so emotionally drained I told my mom I never wanted to go back. My mom thanked me for giving it a try and said I didn’t have to go back again if I didn’t want to, but I still had to sit with her in the lobby while my sister went to her next appointment.
I ended up having an appointment that day. My mom hadn’t actually canceled it because she knew when I walked in the door, I would want to talk. And, as soon as I walked in that door, I realized how relieved I was to talk to someone about what was going on in my head. Since then, I’ve gone to therapy every now and then, and now, in my early 20’s, I understand the importance of therapy and don’t try to fight it. However, you don’t need to have a reason to go to therapy because good mental health is for everyone.
Here are 8 reasons why therapy is for you:
1. Therapy can help improve communication skills and how you interact with people. Communication is hard. And let’s be honest, none of us have truly communicated with anyone over the past two years. Sometimes things come out of my mouth I wish I could take back. Therapy has taught me how to say what I was thinking without offending others. The use of “I phrases”, learning to say no when I need to, and how to become a better listener are all lessons I have learned from therapy to effectively communicate with others when needed.
2. Therapy can help you feel empowered. I am great at many things. I am not so great at others. However, therapy helped me learn that just because they are my weaknesses does not mean I am a failure at them. They just need some work or I just need to ask for help. Therapy helped me understand that asking for help is not bad, which empowered me more than I ever thought it could.
3. Therapy can help you feel more productive. Think of your brain as a messy room. Are you productive when your workspace is a mess? I know when my room is messy, all I can think about is how cluttered my space is, and I can’t concentrate on the task at hand. It is the same thing for your brain. When your mindset is cluttered, you aren’t able to get as much done. Therapy helped me understand this and gave me techniques to organize my mindset when it is disorganized to create a better working environment.
4. Therapy can teach you how to make healthier choices. We may struggle to recognize relationship red flags. We may struggle to put distance between the friends we love even though they are bad for us. We may rarely remember that we need to do something for ourselves when we have more than we can handle on our plate. Therapy can help us process these events and relationships to prioritize our health and ensure we are making decisions that are best for us.
5. Therapy can assist in developing coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety. The amount of times I get stressed in a day and tell myself to count back from 10, walk myself through a grounding exercise or go for a walk or run is often. Going to therapy taught me the best techniques for me, so my anxiety and stress didn’t get the best of me. Everyone is different, so everyone needs to discover their own methods. Your therapist will help you figure out what is best for you.
6. Therapy can teach you more about yourself. I don’t like being late. I struggle with change. I hate feeling behind in class or not knowing a plan. Sometimes surprises stress me out. I learned all of these things about myself in therapy. Talking to someone about my emotions and life experiences helped me understand myself so that when these things do come up, I am fully prepared and step into the situation with my best foot forward.
7. Therapy can assist you in having more fulfilling relationships. Once again,: I phrases” are so important. “I feel anxious when I arrive somewhere late. I would feel more comfortable if we got there 10-15 minutes early,” is something I often have to tell my friend, who is very comfortable being at least 30 minutes late to every event. It also helped me to be more vocal in my relationship with my boyfriend. While I was a little scared at first, I opened up a conversation to talk about our relationship expectations, pet peeves, wants, and needs so our relationship could be more successful. I would not have the skills or confidence to communicate this way if I had not gone to therapy to be equipped with these relationship skills.
8. Therapy can increase your overall health. All of these lessons point to the biggest reason why therapy is for everyone: Therapy can increase your overall health. Put all of these together, and you are a better, healthier, more confident person. Mental health is equally as important as physical health and they tie in together, so a more mentally healthy person is also more physically fit, which creates a healthier person overall.
I won’t say I am the healthiest person in the world. That is wrong. I have plenty of room to grow, but therapy is helping me grow to become a better version of myself. Through therapy: I understand myself better, can communicate easier, recognize my weaknesses, remember to (sometimes) make time for myself, and make time for important relationship conversations to become an overall healthier person.
So if any of this applies to you, I encourage you to give therapy a try. You don’t have to go because you are struggling. You go to help gain techniques to battle struggles when you face them. And that is why therapy is for you.
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