The need for therapy

   A few days ago someone asked me the following question: “Why should I go to a therapist? Why should I go to a total stranger to reveal my deepest thoughts and experiences? I have friends I can share whatever I want with!” I found this to be a pretty good question. Why indeed would we go to a stranger to be the most vulnerable we can be?

   To answer this question I had to quote one of my college professors: “You cannot do therapy with friends and family!” The reason for this is because when emotions are involved, we are influenced by them so our thought process is not as accurate as it should. In our care about that person, we’ll hurry in offering solutions to the problems that person has, solutions that apply for us, not for them. Because we care, we want for them to be better (what “better” means in our opinion) as fast as possible so instead of guiding that person in seeking for solutions within, we’ll try to give that “magic pill” so the problems disappear. Since most of the time that won’t work, we might even get angry because he or she “refuses” our help.

   Since the therapist is not emotionally involved, he or she can have a clearer mind so the thought process is better (assuming that person is a good therapist). As a specialist, it needs to stop his/hers own opinions about the presented problems so no judging will occur, compared to friends and family that will hurry in giving some judgmental affirmations. A therapist will try to explore as much as he/she can about our inner universe so the healing process is designed based on that, not on personal opinions. I think that all of these things are possible because the therapist is a stranger and because the therapist is trained in deep diving in our inner universe.

   What is your opinion about going to a therapist when things seem to be harder than the own self?

64 thoughts on “The need for therapy

  1. I agree that friends and family can’t help. However, therapy doesn’t always help either. I’ve had several therapists over the years, none really helped, and a couple made things worse. A child psychologist screwed me up so bad that the damage she did still affects me now.

    Some people find therapy helpful, but that’s not always the case.

    1. It depends on that therapist. I always said that it’s very hard to be a good therapist and there are not many that good as they should.

      1. Absolutely. I’ve met a couple of good therapists, and I’d definitely recommend them to others. Talking just never helped me personally.

      2. I guess that those therapists haven’t paying close attention to you so they could harvest this writing resource you have that helps you.

    2. When looking for any type of medical care, we need to ‘shop around’ and find the best fit for us. It’s the same as hiring anyone for anything. And, we ARE hiring them. They work for us. However, we sometimes assume that, since they are medical professionals, they are the authority. The thing is, we know our own bodies and what type of care we need better than anyone else. So, we must choose someone who will work WITH us not ON us.

      1. I agree, it’s so important to shop around and find the right person, especially when it comes to therapy…you need to have a good rapport, otherwise it’s hard to trust. I’ll be honest, though, there is no right therapist for me…I learned at an early age to deal with things on my own and that’s the only way for me. I still think it can be really helpful for most people.

  2. Seeing a counsellor is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I have close friends that I can talk to about anything, but a counsellor is different. A good counsellor is objective, highly trained and not emotionally attached, and their power is in helping you to better understand yourself. A counsellor is not a substitute for a friend, it is a very different thing. I am a different person through counselling, far stronger and with a greater sense of self than ever before. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

  3. I totally agree with you. I’ve read some articles about psychological counseling and they have the same opinion as you. When we listen to someone we love, we try to provide solutions. We tend to ignore a lot of information behind his or her words. However, a therapist, with professional training, helps us understand ourselves better and get the strength to help ourselves!

  4. Hmm, well, perhaps that is verging on being a bit too much in someones face… helping ones that don’t want it… your best to only help those ones that require help it just means when they are ready you are there… and those that are ready then you are pleased to help them.. it is a much easlier task I think

  5. I think all of us have the answers within. I think a good therapist will lead a patient quickly through the process because of their professional training and the fact that patients respect the advice of someone with a degree behind their advice.
    And just as often, an understanding, non-judgemental person could produce the same results, by just being a sounding board. I guess I t depends on each individual case,

  6. Therapishave an unbiased opinion about things you talk about. They give you advice based on what is wrong with you and what you talk about. I found it valuable.

  7. Finding the right therapist takes loads of research and work. That’s necessary effort because to do the hard, transformative work in therapy, you and your therapist much be the right fit.
    While therapists are mean to to remain objective,and not become too invested emotionally, (good ones) are capable of a surprising level of empathy. This empathy is what guides them to help you. But the hard work must be done on your own, with only guidance from the therapist.
    Friends and family love you, but have their own agenda. That’s perfectly normal! To truly accomplish that self-work, you need an empathetic impartial person as your guide.
    Do your research when looking for a therapist, be honest with yourself about your motives, find the right fit, because doing that hard work is awful! With the right guide, you’ll be able to manage better getting through.

  8. Hi DM, I have often thought I could use a therapist to help understand my emotions. I feel like there are just times when emotions run away with you, usually in relationships where an attachment is concerned and I get jealous, angry and afraid for no reason at all. I think therapy could help anyone understand themselves better and become a better person. I know as I try to get better at living and being a positive impact on the world, understanding myself better would help. Therapy could help move that along. Thanks for the post, I look forward to reading more.

    1. Therapy can (and maybe should) be used to reach a better level of understanding ourselves. Therapy is usually associated with problems, but there there are many uses of it.

  9. My friends and family will listen when things are bad, but they have no idea how to help me. Well my daughter does, but my poor husband has very little to draw on. When my therapist is on her game (some days I feel like maybe she’s having a bad day herself), she gives me insight and suggestions that others not trained in the field may not know about. And there are certainly things that I don’t want to tell people that are close to me. They don’t need to know every time I have suicidal ideations, they don’t need to know that one of them is the source of my anxiety, and they certainly don’t need to know some disturbing things about my past that have left an indelible mark on my brain.

    1. You brought a very interesting idea here. Yes, our close ones don’t need to know everything that goes through our minds because some things might freak them out.

  10. You make a great point about emotional involvement. Friends and family will never be able to look at things from an objective perspective. While they can certainly offer supportive listening, a therapist has the training to know what sorts of approaches have been demonstrated to be effective for certain types of problems. Therapy’s not always right for everyone, but it’s definitely not the same as talking to friends and family.

    1. Well, they should. If those friends are therapists, they know that they are influenced by this. Maybe they know other good therapists so they can recommend one of them.

  11. I agree. Well, I haven’t gone to a therapist myself. But, I really don’t feel comfortable sharing my troubled thoughts with my family and friends either. I used to be open to my best friend, but even now, with what we’re going through, I feel it’s just hard to disclose my feelings without being misinterpreted.

    Somehow, I just found a solution for my own bouts of depression through blogging. At least here, I get to say everything I want to say. I can also welcome comments from people who are somehow going through the same things I’m dealing with.

    Thank you for this post, DM. I’m glad to have read such thoughts that are similar to mine.

    1. Thank you for reading! Blogging is helpful because it implies writing and I found it to be very liberating. I think that writing has some magic in it that free speech doesn’t have.

  12. I have that issue with a friend. She is seeing her therapist but in the same time she is having a therapy with me. It is unsettling for me as well as annoying, because she rarely listens to me and says e.g. that the therapist said that I’m wrong. I Think the whole situation is surreal and pointless. I just want to be her friend, not a therapist. What do you think?

    1. Even though can be hard as f*ck, I believe you could try limiting the advices you give to her. Try listening more and talking less even though it can be frustrating. At least, in this way, you won’t feel in a constant battle with her and/or her therapist. Do you think this could help?

      1. Yes, I think you’re right. I’ve been trying that – just to listen and not giving her any advice at all. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I don’t want to listen anymore. I mean she’s very important to me and I do care for her, but sometimes I wish we could stop with the therapy and talk like old friends 😉 without psychological background and digging in her subconscious mind. Sonething like that 😉 anyway, I really appreciate your care and I found your blog an amazing thing. Thank you!

      2. Thank you for your kind words! Maybe you could try switching the topic from time to time to the topics you used to talk about when you were just friends. Did you two specifically agree to have “therapy sessions” one with each other?

      3. I was trying to switch the topic but it didn’t work out. It’s been that way for a year now. And my way out is cutting down on our meetings. It works for me, don’t know about her.

      4. You could maybe try talking honest to her about this, but I’m pretty sure she’ll get defensive and upset…

  13. DM I can so relate to what you are expressing here. It is very true. I work with a few mental health professionals, and have for over a decade. I know my daughter faired much better and got to the core root of her challenges through therapy, while family and friends threw bs at her. Very confusing for a 16 year old. Great point, and kudos. Look forward to more of your insights

  14. Having a therapist is all about having an unbiased opinion. Although Friends and family are more involved and more empathetic, an unbiased feedback would most likely be more helpful in certain situations.

  15. I think you answered the question perfectly with the quote from your professor! I’m all for therapy. My mom is a therapist and I know how much she helps so many people. She opened her own practice a couple years ago, and her schedule very quickly became full, because of how much need there is for this (and how good she is). In the end, so many of us could probably benefit from both therapy and the empathetic ears of family and friends! We need a mixture 🙂

    1. Yes, we need the mixture, but it is important for the elements to come from the right place (the therapy from therapist and the empathy from family and friends), otherwise it will be a Molotov cocktail.

  16. I agree! Seeing someone who is not “invested” in your life can give you a much more honest perspective on what’s happening. I find it’s easier to be 100% honest about my own challenges, struggles and down falls when I’m not in fear of being judged (not that my family or friends judge me, but I don’t want to interpret what they say as judgement). Great post!

    1. Thank you! Yes. Also, people tend to believe that they’re always right so they might challenge your opinion from an emotional point of view. This is not pleasant at all.

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