When I suggested to my husband that I wanted to start seeing a therapist, he told me therapy has never cured anyone.
It was particularly hurtful at the time because I felt like he wasn’t supporting me. I’ve come to learn that this is a common sentiment.
So, while therapy may not cure what ails you, here is what it can do:
1. Therapy can teach you about yourself.
Likely, you will be asked to dig deep at times. You can learn about the reasons why you do things. You can learn why certain things hurt you. You can learn how the way you grew up affects your life now.
2. You can learn how to see situations from different perspectives.
Maybe your boss yelling at you has nothing to do with you, but their boss was chewing them out about something. Then the sh*t simply rolls downhill.
3. Therapy can give you an unbiased person to vent to and chat about your life.
Often friends want to give you advice, and they typically only see one side of the story. A trained therapist can be the ear you need to vent to or can see right through your bullsh*t, knowing there are two sides to every story.
4. It can teach you coping mechanisms that you never learned growing up.
A therapist can teach you breathing techniques to calm you down after getting angry with someone or methods to remain in the present when anxiety is flaring up.
5. Therapy can also teach you how to find and use your voice in positive ways.
Especially for women, we are often taught to accept what is and be grateful for what we have. We aren’t taught that it’s okay to ask for what we want and explain why we want it.
6. Along that same vein, it can teach you how to listen to friends and family.
The act of truly listening is lost on many people, especially with our cell phones attached to us—day and night. To be heard is so important to many of us that we also need to learn to do that for our loved ones.
7. It can build up your confidence.
Many of us have imposter syndrome or self-esteem issues. A good number of people have been gaslit in numerous ways, so much so that many of us stopped believing in ourselves a long time ago. Therapy can show us how to work on ourselves and start believing that we are worthy of life.
8. Therapy can help you deal with difficult family members.
Maybe your self-esteem issues are due to a hyper-critical family member. Therapy can show you what is acceptable and what isn’t and give you methods of working around those problems. That might mean saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I need to take care of myself right now.”
9. It can help you to stop being your emotions—to have or experience your emotions.
It can be easy to get caught up in our emotions and to believe that’s all we are. In reality, we are human beings having emotional reactions to something. We are not those emotions.
10. And finally, it can teach you to treat yourself with kindness.
Going through therapy can be rough. Life is rough. We would do well to remember that we are all imperfect humans doing the best we can, and therapy can help us remember this.
Is there something on this list that I missed? Please share it in the comments.