The process of starting psychotherapy or counseling can be a nerve-wracking one. Sometimes entering into therapy carries stereotypes. It can challenge our sense of independence, that maybe we don’t need another person’s help (and a stranger at that). It can also be labeled as something that only “crazy” or “troubled” people do, or people with serious problems, whether that be with family, substances or mental illness.
Starting Therapy Indicates Willingness to Grow
The truth is, if you are contemplating therapy you should stop right now and give yourself a pat on the back. If it is even crossing your mind that means that you are willing to grow (and growing can be uncomfortable, example, teenage years!) and growing does not happen in isolation. Does a plant grow without soil or water? If you are contemplating therapy it also means that you are willing, even if with hesitation, to form a trusting relationship with another person, again, a stranger. It also signifies that you are willing to help yourself, which in turn will aid you in helping others. When we strengthen our own skills and sense of self we are more available to those around us.
The Therapist as Witness and Guide
If you are contemplating therapy, ask yourself why this has come up. What do you think you can benefit from in therapy? Is it to gain clarity, gain skills? You may not know. Are there patterns in your life that you recognize as not serving you? Having difficulty in relationships? Cannot explain sadness or anxiety or simply experienced a shift in your life that you are not happy with? The way through all these challenges are within you, and it is completely normal to need a witness and a guide along the way. The right therapist can be that supportive witness and guide.