Why would someone choose to talk with a therapist, rather than a friend or family member? If you’ve never gone for therapy before, you might wonder why someone would go to a stranger for help with a personal problem.
There are some very clear benefits of going to see a professional. Here are just a few:
* You won’t have to worry about being judged. The therapist is there to help guide and support you. You can take off the “mask” and be open and honest. With someone close to you, you might be concerned about what kind of impression you’re making, when you talk to them in confidence.
* You won’t have to protect the therapist. Sometimes with friends or family members, there’s a desire to shelter them from some of the harsher realities of what you might be feeling, or of what situation you’re dealing with.
* The therapist is not involved in your day-to-day life. You can talk about anything you want, and not worry about the conversation following you into your personal life, and possibly being brought up at inopportune times.
* The therapist will not be looking for “equal time.” Think about the times you’ve tried to tell friends about some problem, only to have them interrupt you so that they can tell you about their own experience with something similar.
* The therapeutic relationship creates more distance or perspective to see the whole picture — without conflicted loyalties. Friends and family may have difficulty remaining unbiased, particularly if the problem has to do with family dynamics.
* A therapist will facilitate the fine-tuning of your goals — to help you develop priorities and a plan to reach them. A good therapist never has his/her own agenda. The people involved in your life may have their own view of what you should do.
* A therapist will help you find your own answers, in your own time, and in your own way. Those close to you may be tempted to come up with a quick fix that can leave deeper issues still there and unattended to.
* Last, but certainly not least, a therapist has special education, training, and experience in the many facets of human behavior, which creates the best opportunity for you to see what’s working and not working in your life.
Under most circumstances, our lives are enriched by our friends and family. They usually have our best interests at heart, but because of their closeness to us, and their lack of specialized training, they may not be the best people to go to when we’re struggling with something. If you are feeling unhappy, worried, and under too much stress, consider finding a good therapist to guide and support you in making some changes for a better tomorrow.
Until next time,