It is clear that there remains a perception that a person needs to have some sort of calamity or personal crisis to warrant going to therapy. Many clients report during their initial phone consultation that family and friends do not always understand why they’re seeking support. “Why are you airing your dirty laundry to a stranger?” “You have a great life, why do you need to talk to someone?”
Why do people seek therapy? How do you know that it would be helpful? How do you know when is the right time to go?
Anyone and everyone can commit to therapy; you do not need to have a particular reason or enormous life issue in order to come. It can be helpful and clarifying to have an objective, third-party, unbiased person to talk through things with. While friends and family can serve as sounding boards and confidantes, sometimes their own will is being imposed or their guidance can only go so far. Family and friends can also be instructive without allowing room for personal choice, growth or independence.
People often seek therapy when they are at a crossroads, when they feel stuck, when they keep running into the same conflict, when they want to build confidence, when they don’t know how to set boundaries. People come to gain perspective, to reframe, to learn how to approach things differently. People seek therapy to improve their relationships and to develop more honest communication. Many of my clients struggle with negative self-talk or they tend to catastrophize and project their anxieties far into the future. Therapy can help channel anxious energy and thoughts into a more mindful and even optimistic perspective.
A psychologist by the name of James Hillman developed the Acorn Theory which is the idea that all people already hold the potential for unique possibilities inside themselves, much as an acorn holds the pattern for an oak tree. Therapy can help you find this inner resilience and can enable you to bloom.