Ah Facebook, the mecca of all social media… I was poking around on facebook (no pun intended, I do not actually “poke” my friends online) when I noticed something odd about my friends’ activity on my page. I posted a photo of my cat, it got 16 likes and 8 comments. Next, I posted about how I tear up during every episode of Long Island Medium on TLC (oh come on, it’s touching), and again, 20 likes and 5 comments. Then I posted a link to our online therapy site… and I got…crickets. Awkward silence. Hello!? Bueller? Bueller? Do you not all see how amazing it is that there is a website where someone can get affordable, accessible, quality care online, in the comfort of their own home!? What the heck? Then the private messages came. People did like it, and people did have comments…but why were they hesitant to express it out in the open? Why is going to therapy or seeking therapy such a secret? That is when I started thinking about how far therapy has come in the last 30-50 years, but society’s thoughts about therapy hasn’t exactly come as far.
Maybe it is because it is my life’s profession, but hearing that someone is on anti-depressants or has an appointment with their therapist seems as “normal” to me as someone telling me they took Advil for a headache or went to the dentist. However, there is often a huge taboo around therapy. For many people, going to therapy becomes a secret, shameful thing, and this prevents many people from getting the help they need.
Therapy is no longer about sitting on a couch and having an old man analyze your every word, and I promise, I have never used electrical shocks on a client. Going to therapy is just like seeing any other professional, like a doctor, a personal trainer or a hair stylist. (Hey… it takes a village, right?) I use use my training to help my clients become a better version of themselves… and there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about that! There is nothing wrong with seeking a little help every now and then.
Going to see a therapist does not mean you are insane. I have heard some clients say they were afraid to seek help because they might be seen as “crazy”. Well, let me tell you something…we are all a little crazy. People have extremely expected reactions to break ups, moving, switching careers, starting a family, and experiencing a loss. In fact, I would be worried if you didn’t react to certain life transitions. Learning to cope with change is a part of life. Financial planners help you navigate your finances, medical doctors help you navigate a healthy life style and teachers help you navigate your education. Therapists help you navigate your moods, emotions and reactions to life.
I understand that deciding you want to seek therapy, and finding a therapist can be a stressful and difficult process (especially if you are already struggling against anxiety), but rest easy, once you make the first step, you are already well on your way to feeling better! There is nothing that you can say to shock me. I have heard it all. There is nothing you can say to make me turn against you or judge you. You are my client, and I am on your side. There is nothing that I will ever force you do to, you are in control of your life and your therapy. Also, you won’t have to stay in therapy forever; you decide when and for how long you need it. So relax, it’s just therapy. It’s really not so scary… it’s actually much less painful than what my boot camp instructor put me through last week… my thighs are still sore.