Is Psychotherapy for me? 4 Questions to consider.
Posted on June 10, 2015
How to figure out if psychotherapy is for you: 4 Questions by Connor McClenahan
Considering psychotherapy is a journey in itself. To help make that journey a little less daunting, I’ve outlined 4 common questions people ask when they first consider psychotherapy:
Is psychotherapy really worth it?
Why? Because your spouse, your family, your view of yourself, your confidence, your joy, hope, love, your ability to relate personally and professionally, your bank account, your children, your friends, your grades, your body, your spirituality, all, each day, are affected by the way you are in your world.
…and psychotherapy deeply affects who you are in your world.
Psychotherapy has been proven to increase important intangibles like self-esteem, relational intimacy, financial habits, as well as physical health. Also, unlike psychotropic medications, which require continual dosing to quell psychological symptoms, the effects of psychotherapy have been proven to be long-standing. That’s because psychotherapy increases your capacity to relate and respond to your world. It gives you tools to experience life more fully.
Do I really need psychotherapy?
I guess this question can be asked one of two ways. Let’s talk about the first. “Do I really need THERAPY?”. Psychotherapy is often not the first thing people think of when they consider how to get where they want to be. Instead of addressing the anger, sadness, or anxiety directly, many people spend time, money, and effort on superficial solutions that don’t heal the pain. Sometimes it can feel like psychotherapy is too much work, or not worth the money (see question #2) or that it would be uncomfortable (see question #3), or stigmatizing (see question #4). However, when weighted against other options, therapy looks pretty good (see question #2… again). Psychotherapy is a direct way to deal with some of the most central issues that affect our lives.
There’s another way to ask the question: “Do I really NEED therapy?” You might be convinced that your problem is something therapy might be able to address, but aren’t sure it’s gotten to be so bad that you need therapy. If you are asking this question, I would respond, “yes, it’s a good idea”. Why? Because most people wait until too late to get the help they need. Seeing a therapist need not be a large hurdle; instead it can simply be a way to step forward.
Will I feel uncomfortable?
Most therapists are the kind of people who have been told over and over that they are warm and easy to talk to. That’s likely why they got into the profession! Most are highly gifted at helping you feel at ease. They understand what it’s like to be in your position: asking for help from someone you don’t know.
A “good fit”, as they call it, is incredibly important. You should walk out of your first session feeling good about the relationship – like the therapist took time to get to know you well. If not, it’s probably a good sign you should keep looking.
Am I weird if I go to psychotherapy?
Sometimes it can feel like you’re the only person who’s struggling. The ironic truth is most people hide their struggles. The result is a social facade; everyone is hurting, and everyone acts “okay”. I want to say two things about this issue:
First, lots of people go to psychotherapy – normal, average, regular people.
Second, psychotherapy is, for whatever reason, more acceptable to talk about today than it was 20 years ago. You might not be the only one of your friends who has a therapist. Plus, whether it’s weird or not, it’s a good and healthy thing to get professional help. Take it from actress Kristen Bell: “You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.”