What A Therapist Did Not Do For Me.
I have had 3 professional therapists in my adult life. (What I mean by professional is they have specialized in and earned advanced degrees and certifications in counseling and tend to have a more intricate understanding of human behavior.) I attended group therapy for a few months, had a free therapist when I was in grad school and have been going to my current therapist for over a year. They all helped me in one way or another. But there was one thing that neither of them did for me. Not a single one of the therapists I have seen has ever given me advice. Hear me when I say: talking to a licensed therapist is NOT like talking to your friends and family. And if I may, it’s also not like talking to your pastor either. (I can feel the death stares with that one.)
When I talk to people about why they don’t believe in therapy, usually the response is a version of “I don’t want a stranger telling me what to do with my life.”
Therapists do not give you advice in that sense. In fact, any time I ask my therapist what I should do, she always points me back to self. Therapists help us develop skills and tools to use in everyday life. They help you learn how to manage stress and depend on yourself for the answers. They guide you by raising questions and sometimes you will leave even more confused than when you went in but you’ll get there. Which is far more rewarding than getting advice. Relying on a friend’s voice or any other voice outside of your own is counterproductive and isn’t helpful.
Therapy is teaching me to trust my own voice and drown out the voices from society that tell me how success or happiness should look. It helps me confront things that my anxiety would otherwise cause me to flee from. In fact, I seek outside advice far less than I used to. I used to always ask my friends what I should do about any given situation and they can only give me advice based on their own value system and beliefs. Furthermore, we tend to surround ourselves with people who think like us, so their input will always be subjective. None of us want to be 2018 Kanye so take your ass to therapy.
I want to know what some of your fears are about going to therapy or why you feel that therapy has no value. And I am open to answering any questions or concerns about why I go to therapy and why I think everyone should go to therapy.