04 Aug Why Therapy?
Deciding to go to therapy can be a tough decision. You may have thought about it. Others may have suggested it. For those who are a little controlling and impatient (i.e., anxious & stressed out), it can be hard to slow down and trust that another human being can help.
Anxiety, depression, and patience are rarely BFFs.
Having been a hyper, stressed-out person who enjoyed being in control, I LOVED hearing Brené Brown relate her first visit to a therapist on a now massively viral Ted Talk video.
She said to her new therapist, “I think I have a problem, and I need some help. But here’s the thing: no family stuff, no childhood shit. I just need some strategies.”
Cue therapist looking gently on. Then Brown said, “It’s bad, right?” And the therapist said, “It’s neither good nor bad. It just is what it is.” Brown then relates that it (therapy) both sucked, and didn’t suck and it took about a year.
I loved her admission because I could totally relate. About 20 years ago, I knew something was off. Essentially, I didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be in life even though I was working really hard. Unhappy and frustrated, I started a search for a therapist.
First Therapy Trip
During my 1st therapy visit, while giving some family history, I suggested that I bring in a performance plan form that I used at work to keep my therapy progress on track. Quick change managed by me was the goal.
My therapist softly smiled, said I could use whatever form I thought might be helpful, and recommended I find a book on adult children of alcoholics. A book that I thought seemed way off topic. Parental drinking habits? Never mentioned, but true.
Although skeptical, I scheduled another appointment. I did want to feel better. I also went to the library. Remember, this was 20 years ago – no Amazon. I found a book on the recommended topic. I had an “Aha” moment to put it mildly. The therapist had nailed it – nailed me.
I was shocked that this stranger/therapist understood me so well in a 50-minute hour. So I settled in, explored some stuff, made some changes, and found that therapy made a difference. The depression I had been experiencing lifted and I understood myself much better. Life was colorful instead of gray. I could face the day once more.
Back to Therapy
Flash forward 10 years. I decided to go back to therapy because well…some stuff turned back up. This time the grays were grayer, but I was clearer about who I was and what I wanted to gain from therapy.
I also knew that to get my time and money’s worth, I needed to surrender to the process which included experiencing vulnerability, discomfort, and pain. Consequently, this experience was more focused, richer, and led to some major life changes like going back to school to become, you guessed it, a therapist!
So Why Therapy?
Because we all have stuff. We’re human. Therapy offers you a sanctuary to explore your life on a level that you may not be able to do anywhere else with an objective person. A person who is listening intently and knows about human behavior, life stages, trauma, and helpful coping tools. Plus, and this is big, they have worked on their own stuff so it’s not going to get in the way of yours.
Therapy may feel painful, frustrating, annoying, joyful, motivational, insightful, celebratory, and restorative. However, therapy is not frivolous, self-indulgent, a quick-fix, or the same as talking to a friend.
A good therapist is there to listen, guide, interpret, and see patterns you may be too close to notice. Most importantly, a therapist believes you are capable of change when you think it is impossible.
I’m deeply privileged to support others in their decision to explore their life and make changes where they deem necessary. Daily, I am humbled and inspired by the bravery I witness from clients as they sit on the proverbial couch and deal with their stuff.
Email me if you are interested in getting started or want to discuss therapist referrals in your area.
Kate Murphy, LMSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Berkeley Lake, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.