Ask a Therapist: On Going to Therapy
Q: I don’t really understand why people go to therapy. How would I know if therapy is for me?
A: For people who have never been to therapy, it can be hard to understand what all the fuss is about! The first step might be recognizing that people come to therapy for a wide range of reasons and that therapy treatment is designed to fit the specific needs of the client so it’s not one size fits all!
In general terms, people might reach out for therapeutic help when they feel stuck or when they can’t make sense of what they are experiencing - mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or relationally. Clients might feel overwhelmed, confused, depleted, anxious, sad, numb, or lonely and they need to find a way to navigate that emotional landscape.
One common reason that people might seek help is due to a lack of emotional regulation; that is, their reactions are disproportionately connected to their day-to-day experiences. If you are reacting more intensely than a situation warrants you may be in hyperarousal; whereas, if you are noticing apathy or disengagement where emotion would be expected, you may be experiencing hypoarousal. A therapist can help a client understand where those reactions may be coming from while also supporting new pathways and strategies for healthier responses.
Going to therapy can be motivated by goals that you are trying to achieve but feel that support is needed to successfully do so. One person might be working on boundaries at work or home, another person may be lacking motivation to take care of their own needs, someone else might want to navigate a life transition in a career or relationship, another client may be struggling to make a difficult decision, while a different person may be navigating a change in their beliefs or experiencing fatigue as the caregiver of a loved one. Therapy can be a tool to help manage the stressors and challenges of so many of life’s experiences and to equip people to live well in a complex world.
Psychotherapy, like other healthcare treatments, can be accessed for proactive and reactive reasons. Perhaps it is most commonly accessed - at least initially - due to a mental health or interpersonal crisis of some kind but many clients stay in therapy at varying frequencies to prioritize ongoing mental health. In the same way that you would go to a doctor for regular check ups, many clients - even after a more intense season of healing - will decide to come at regular intervals to be sure that they are checking in with themselves and their wellbeing in order to maintain their goals.
While most people come to therapy because they are struggling, therapists are thrilled to take clients beyond just surviving a crisis to learning how to thrive and maintain mental health. If you are curious about therapy for any reason, reach out today to ask your questions and to see if therapy is the right next step for your health and wellness.
Covey Wellness Centre – To contact us, please submit a form on our Contact page. You can book an appointment or a free, no-obligation consultation, or inquire about our products and services. We also offer group psychotherapy upon request.
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