Therapy- What It Is and Why I Go
I shared something a while back on Instagram about going to therapy myself and also taking my children. I was overwhelmed with questions and support and I guess I didn’t even realize there was such a huge stigma. My kids go. I go. Every married couple should go. Therapy is not anything to be ashamed of- it changes lives.
Since many of you had questions about what kinds of therapy are available and how to find a good therapist, I thought I’d share a brief breakdown of the answers to those questions here. This is not intended to be a definitive list of the types of therapy that are out there. This is merely a place to get started and to help you see that there are so many options available for help!
Marriage & Family Therapy:
You may have heard about these specialties when it comes to therapy or counseling. The major goals of these types of therapy are to help family members (either parents and children or just adults in a committed relationship) identify how specific behaviors affect others. Through therapy and counseling, the goal is to learn new ways of relating to each other, resolve conflicts, and open lines of communication between everyone in the family/relationship.
The most common time to seek out therapy or counseling for these situations is usually when you are struggling. But, according to therapists, the best time to seek out help is before you are in trouble. Therapy can be helpful for any couple or family. No matter how solid or happy your relationship is. It’s more helpful, of course, when you are both in a place where you want to work on your relationship to make it the best it can be. The most common issues that marriage counselors see usually relate to communication issues, a lack of trust between partners, or disagreeing about core values (religion, money, children, etc.).
We form addictions to numb us from painful emotions. This obviously doesn’t work because when we protect ourselves from feeling any painful emotions, we also close off our ability to feel joy, happiness, love, connection, peace, etc. Addictions can take many forms. We tend to think of addictions only in terms of drugs, alcohol, or the use of other harmful substances. But you can become addicted to anything.
I saw a picture recently of something called the Addiction Tree. I love the visual of a tree for talking about addictions. You see, there’s always a common root to our addictions, we are numbing something we don’t want to feel. How we do this numbing is represented by the many branches of the tree. I was surprised to see that some branches of the addiction tree were labeled with activities that you wouldn’t think of as being addictive. Even things like exercise, work, or food can become addictions if we use them to numb ourselves from feeling pain. Seeking out addiction therapy can take many forms, from meeting with a therapist or counselor to receiving in-patient treatment at a licensed facility.
Therapy for Depression/Anxiety:
This type of therapy is becoming more and more common. Coping with depression/anxiety can also cause you to become addicted to substances or behaviors in order to cope with your anxieties. Many of us women nowadays are recognizing that we are not ok, and that is such a huge step forward. When we talk about the things that are causing us to feel depressed or anxious, it takes the power away from those situations and feelings. It can be really hard to cope with all that we expect out of ourselves in the modern world we live in. We see images online of perfect smiles, beautiful homes, gorgeous clothing, etc. and we feel like we can never measure up to these unattainable ideals. I know. I’ve been there.
This past year as I’ve dealt with the aftermath of my divorce and the realities of becoming a single mom, I’ve struggled to cope at times. It can be hard to admit you are struggling to your friends and family. It’s even harder to admit it to the internet. But I believe it’s important to talk about these issues no matter how hard it is right now.
How to Find a Good Therapist:
I know that the idea of trying to find a good therapist can feel overwhelming. It can even feel too hard to accomplish if you are really struggling with something in your life. Here are a few tips I’ve read to help you if you are looking for a therapist:
- Ask friends/family for recommendations. Many times our friends and family can give us recommendations that will help us find a therapist that will be a good fit for us in our life. After all, they tend to know us better than the general public, right?
- Ask your medical doctor for recommendations and referrals. Because your medical doctor works in the healthcare field, they know many other doctors and counselors. It can be a good idea to see if they have anyone they would refer you to so you can begin to heal.
- Call around and talk to different therapists to find a good fit. It’s ok to shop around when looking for a therapist. In fact, it’s encouraged. Don’t feel awkward or nervous about trying out a few different therapists to see who will be the best fit for you and your specific situation. In therapy, one size does not fit all.
- Check out Therapists’ websites. With everything moving online nowadays, you can find lots of information online regarding therapists in your area. Check out the websites of the therapists you are curious about. You may find exactly what you’re looking for.
Remember, you aren’t looking for a friend. You want to be able to learn from them and have the opportunity to see yourself in a new way.
I hope these simple tips help you as you navigate the world of therapists and therapy. I truly believe therapy has helped me work through things that have happened in my life in healthier ways. Oftentimes I am validated in hard decisions or told I need to be kinder to myself or others. Therapy has helped me so much! Have you ever been to therapy? Have you ever sent your kids?
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