Therapy is one of the most powerful tools for improving our mental health and daily lives. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. Unfortunately, our ideas about therapy are often full of errors and myths. Therapy and other mental health treatments still have a certain stigma to some, and others may miss out on highly beneficial treatments because of what they erroneously think therapy is.
Let’s set the record straight. Here’s the truth about therapy — don’t believe the myths.
Therapy helps you manage your thoughts and behaviors — and that’s it
Therapists are not wizards. Nor are they here to “crack the code” of your behavior or your thoughts — though it can sometimes feel that way when you make a lot of progress in a session. Therapy is not, by and large, about huge breakthroughs and emotional whodunits. People are not two-dimensional comic book characters created by one defining trauma. We’re complicated, and our thoughts are, too.
So when you get cognitive therapy, you’ll be talking and thinking about your thoughts and behavioral patterns. You’ll think about the thoughts that you have and why you might have them. You’ll think about how you react to those thoughts. And, crucially, you’ll get strategies for dealing with thoughts that hurt you or cause you to hurt others. You may be able to change the way you think or to counter unbidden negative thoughts with conscious positive ones.
All of this can make therapy useful for those suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. But none of this is specific to those suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety — which brings us to our next section.
Therapy is for everyone
Understanding why you think, practicing communication, and gaining strategies to counter toxic thinking are things that will help you in all sorts of ways. This stuff isn’t going to help only depressed people and anxious people. Understanding and improving your thinking and communication is going to help you at work, in relationships, and in virtually other aspect of your life.
And that means that therapy can help virtually anyone live a happier life and become a better partner, parent, professional, or whatever else.
On top of this, there are a host of reasons why an individual might want or need therapy besides mental health disorders, explains an expert therapist in nyc — including, for that matter, just living in a big city like New York City (stress levels, studies show, tend to be higher in such places). Other reasons to see a therapist include the loss of a loved one, a divorce, stress at work, parenting struggles, and so much more. If you have a problem — or even if you don’t — therapy may help.
Your friends are not your therapists, and your therapist is not your friend
A toxic trope in some forms of media paints therapists as the professionals who people talk to when their friends and family won’t listen. That’s extremely inaccurate, and more than a little bit dangerous.
Here’s the thing: While it’s important to communicate with friends and family members, you should absolutely not be leaning on your friends and family members as therapists. They’re not trained to provide that service, they may have ulterior motives or biases in their reactions and advice. Also, it’s not fair to expect them to be on call for your personal mental health problems.
On the flip side, a therapist is working for you. He or she can be friendly, but the role is a professional one. That’s not a reason to feel uncomfortable; on the contrary, a good therapist can give you objective feedback, proven strategies, and more without judgment and ulterior motives.
A therapist is a therapist — nobody else can be. And now that you know the truth about therapy, maybe you’ll want to seek out a therapist for yourself.