Why Go To Therapy?

Are you asking yourself why you should go to therapy? Or even if you should go to therapy? Many people come to therapy to address a specific “problem” like feeling depressed or anxious. Some don’t have an easily identifiable problem but more of a sense that something “isn’t quite right” or that they want “more out of life.”

Therapy can absolutely help to alleviate depression, anxiety, and a wide variety of other concerns. However, therapy can also have other unexpected benefits as well. Here are a few I’ve noticed in myself and the people I’ve worked with:

1. More Self-Acceptance

Often one of the first changes I see with my clients is that they become more accepting of themselves. I believe this comes from experiencing a safe and supportive relationship (which is the heart of what therapy is). In therapy, you get to come as you are rather than needing to look like you have it all together. You can let your guard down and let someone else see the “real you.” When that person accepts you for who you are without judgment, you learn to accept yourself as well.

2. Increased Emotional “Pain Tolerance”

Sometimes people I’m working with will say something like, “When I feel depressed I’m able to accept it more. It doesn’t bother me in the same way it used to.” This often comes from dealing with the additional emotional “baggage” that we pile on top of painful emotions, things like feeling guilty for being depressed or feeling self-critical about feeling highly anxious. By working through some of these feelings, the original painful emotional experience can feel a bit more bearable. This isn’t the end of the work by any means but it’s a necessary step to being able to explore and understand those painful emotions in greater depth.

3. More Mindfulness

“Mindfulness” is kind of a buzzword right now. It may sound mysterious, but basically it’s about being aware of your own experience without judgment (see the Merriam-Webster definition here). Most people think of meditation when they think of mindfulness, and that can be a big part of it. (In fact, it’s often something I recommend to clients because it’s so beneficial!) Therapy also promotes mindfulness by being a time set aside to reflect on your own thoughts, emotions, and experiences within a safe and nonjudgmental relationship. So by going to and engaging in therapy, you are practicing a form of mindfulness.

4. Better Conflict Management

By going to therapy, you can become better at managing and working through conflicts at work, school, or in your personal life. This is in large part due to the first 3 benefits mentioned. The self-acceptance you’ve developed will give you the confidence to speak your mind and engage in conflict in the first place. The tolerance for emotional pain you’ve grown will give you the endurance to engage the conflict and improve your ability to take in and consider critical feedback from others. And the mindfulness you’ve cultivated will allow you to be self-reflective enough to know when an apology is needed on your part or when you should push back on what someone else is saying.

5. Better Relationships

In addition to being able to better manage and work through conflict, being in therapy can also improve relationship in other ways. Therapy is sometimes referred to as a “relationship learning lab,” where people can try out new ways to relating with their therapist, get thoughtful feedback from their therapist, and transfer their learning to other relationships in their life. For example, maybe you’re someone who doesn’t really open up much to others for fear of being judged or ridiculed. In therapy, you could practice opening up to your therapist. You find that in that relationship you don’t experience the judgement you were expecting and you start feeling more confident about opening up. From there, you might take this new-found confidence and try opening up to some others in your life who you’ve identified as safe people. You find that goes alright as well and soon you’re able to experience more closeness and support in your relationships.

6. Sense of Purpose and Direction

It’s not uncommon for people to make big shifts in their life after spending some time in therapy. These can include choosing to leave a job they’re unhappy in, moving to another part of the country, or deciding to go back to school. Therapy can help people sort through and clarify what really matters to them. With this knowledge, they are ready to re-prioritize their lives, focusing on the things that matter. By focusing on what truly matters to them, their lives have meaning and purpose. It can take some time to experience this benefit out of therapy. Everyone is different and has their own process which cannot be rushed. However, it’s well worth the investment to be able to live a life that truly means something to you.

I’d Love to Hear From You

So what are your thoughts? Have you been in therapy and found these benefits to be true for yourself? Or maybe there are other unexpected things you got out of therapy that I didn’t touch on. Feel free to comment here or send me a message using the contact form on this page so I can hear your thoughts.

And if you’re ready to start experiencing some of these benefits for yourself, you can contact me or schedule an appointment right from this site. I’d love to hear more about your story and work with you to create the lasting change and healing you’re looking for!

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