Say No to Shame and Yes to Therapy
by Kerri-Anne Brown, LMHC
“Therapy is for crazy people” said no one ever.
Ok so maybe people have said that. But it’s so far from the truth. Therapy isn’t about making “not so normal” people “normal.” It’s for everyone! I believe that everyone could benefit from therapy at some point in their life.
It’s always interesting to me when I hear other people’s view of going to counseling or therapy. It seems to vary from person to person and from one situation to another. Most people understand the importance of their well-being but struggle to see how their mental health fits in.
Our well-being is multidimensional. It involves several areas and they are all interconnected. There’s our physical, social, emotional, spiritual and even financial well-being. Difficulty in one area will often impact another.
I find that people often give lots of attention to areas such as their physical well-being. They invest in gym memberships, personal fitness trainers and sacrifice their time to commit to regular workouts. They do this because they see the value in doing so. Their physical health obviously matters to them and because they see the benefits, it keeps them motivated to continue.
I like to use the example of when you’re taking a shower. You take care of your entire body and make sure all parts are cleaned well. You don’t focus on a specific area and forget the rest. You give adequate attention and care to all areas when you’re showering. That’s how we should all be approaching our well-being. Making intentional choices to take care of all dimensions of our health.
When you’re struggling with a life issue, seeking therapy says that you value yourself and believe you’re worth it. It says that you see the value in investing in you. If you’re seeking counseling for your relationship, it means that you value this partnership. It’s something meaningful to you. You want to give your best efforts by seeking professional help to ensure its success and longevity.
Talking about your problems is really a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes courage to do what seems hard or scary and to do it anyway.
It’s no secret that life is hard, and we sometimes struggle with the challenges that it brings us. There’s so much value in the therapy experience. Here’s what you get that you’ll be hard pressed to find outside of the therapy room.
- No judgment and unconditional positive regard. You can be completely open and honest with your therapist. It’s the best place to take your mask off, share vulnerabilities and receive support.
- Undivided attention. You have uninterrupted time and focus from your therapist for at least 50 minutes or more. Sessions can run from 50 minutes to 90 minutes long or even several hours in a day if your therapist offers intensive counseling.
- Heal old (and new) wounds. Going to therapy is an opportunity to better yourself. It’s not about the therapist’s agenda. This is precious time set aside for you to better understand yourself and achieve personal or relationship growth.
- Universal needs met (validation). Everyone needs a little help sometimes. None of us are immune from the challenges of life. Dealing with a major illness, work related stress, family stressors or loss of a loved one? We all face experiences that affect us in not so pleasant ways.
- Skill development. The skills you learn from your therapist will extend beyond your therapy experience. Consequently, you won’t have to go to therapy forever. The skills are often application to a variety of situations that come up and you’ll be able to use them as you move forward in life.
You probably don’t think twice to see a specialist for help in other areas of your life. Can you straighten your teeth on your own? Do you feel like less of a person or weak because you need to see a dentist for help with this issue? There is no shame in not knowing how to do something well and seeking an expert for help to solve a problem. We aren’t born knowing everything but I’m thankful that there are highly trained mental health professionals to help with this aspect of our well-being.
There’s no shame in doing what’s best for you and taking care of yourself. Please share this with someone who needs to be reminded of this truth today.
Thank you for working to bring attention to breaking the stigma of therapy!
I could not agree more! Thanks for normalizing therapy- there’s no shame in asking for help!
I honestly think everyone should have a therapist! Life can always throw a curveball and it’s a good idea to have someone on your side when that happens, so you’re not wasting your time searching for the perfect therapist when you need help NOW! Thanks for this post!
I can’t wait to share this. No shame in accepting help but we humans have so much trouble doing just that.
Thanks for sharing Kim!
Oh if only EVERYONE would go to therapy — the world would be such a happier and healthier place!
I agree Lynn!
Highly agree, I like the analogy to showering!
I like the analogy to showering, we don’t just focus on one part! Highly agree.
Love this! Thank you for helping fight the stigma of receiving help!
100% agree and I would also like to add that we don’t have to wait until we’ve reached rock bottom before seeking help which seems to be a common misconception. Therapy is like flossing! Love all the metaphors you have in here to make it super relatable. There have been times I’ve regretted gym membership but I’ve never regretted investing in therapy!
Yes! Thank you for that addition Rachel. That is so true!