While talking with a few psychotherapist colleagues
the other day I said, “If people would come in for therapy and totally commit
to exploring their lives in great depth, their lives would get so much better
in every area”. I know that from my many years of experience in my own personal
therapy as well as my 30 years of private practice psychotherapy. Why in my 30
years of practicing psychotherapy did some clients stay, putting tremendous
effort into addressing their issues through self-awareness, courage and hard work
while others left after only a few sessions? Why indeed? They were all in pain
and confused in their personal and /or professional lives. They were suffering from depression, anxiety,
eating disorders, grief, loneliness, drug and alcohol addiction, unhappy marriages,
unfulfilling sex lives.
ones that left did not really know and understand how and why therapy could
change their lives for the better. I certainly know how and why therapy is a
fantastic journey into personal growth and positive change, but if the positive
aspects of therapy are not pointed out and defined to clients and the world at
large, people will be hesitant to enter and commit to really knowing
themselves. So, here goes. These are the
10 reasons I believe therapy with a licensed professional is a great thing for anyone
seeking answers and new pathways.
1. Finding and committing to working
with a therapist can be the one place where it is all about our own self.
This is totally
your time to be used exactly as you choose. You are actually able to talk about
your life, feelings and thoughts while an objective professional therapist
listens to you and validates you. The
therapist is in the room committed to hearing your story, interpreting the
meanings behind the words and helping you to understand your Life Script.
2. Therapy is a safe place because the
sessions are confidential.
cannot reveal the contents of the session unless the client’s life is in danger
due to a suicide plan and/or attempt, threats to commit a homicide, child abuse
and elder abuse. The therapist explains the limits of confidentiality in the
first session and usually in writing.
If we are working with the right therapist for us, a bond is formed which is
like no other.
I once worked
with a client who came to me in a severe depression. She actually thought she
was going crazy because she questioned every thought she had and had lost most
of her confidence in herself. She had always had a great sense of humor but
hadn’t laughed or cracked a smile in 6 months. When I interpreted one of her
comments in an unconventional manner, she actually laughed and said “OMG, I am
not crazy. I can still laugh”.
We had made a
great connection, because laughter is often the best medicine and my sense of
humor has been one of my best friends. This client never took any medication
but committed to exploring her Family of Origin System to uncover the causes of
her depression and later anxiety. She went on to become a licensed therapist
who is quite successful!
4. Therapy will teach you that life is a
gift to be lived fully and happily.
If you are
depressed, anxious, addicted to alcohol or drugs, have an eating disorder, are
in an unhappy relationship or marriage or isolated and alone, you are not
embracing the gift of life and allowing yourself to work, play and connect with
others from your True Self. Life is a schoolroom which offers so many wonderful
experiences and lessons to encourage and propel you forward in all your
activities. You are here to learn, share your wisdom, joy, laughter and even
your tears with fellow travelers on this wondrous Life path.
5. Therapy will help you see that the
answers are within you.
You live with
yourself 24 hours a day and if you believe we are immortal, we go on forever.
Don’t you think you deserve to really know yourself? A good therapist builds a
relationship based on trust and safety. There is no judgment, just the space
and time to connect to that inner wisdom which truly knows who and what we are.
We cannot hear
and use that inner, intuitive wisdom if we are numbed out by addictions, depression,
disassociation, fear or an abusive Family of Origin. Therapy gives us wonderful
tools to help us climb out of the abyss of unhappiness into the sunshine of
peace of mind, serenity, self-esteem and a solid love and respect for
6. Therapy helps you to discover your
gifts, talents and creativity.
How do you want
to express yourself in this thing called Life? Have you been blessed with gifts
as an artist, actor, attorney, salesperson, pilot, soldier, filmmaker, teacher,
writer, circus performer, plumber, nurse, parent or therapist? Don’t you need
to know so you may develop those talents and share them with the world? Suppose
Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jonas Salk, Albert
Einstein and Thomas Edison, just to name a few, had never known their gifts and
shared them with the world? We would be back in the Dark Ages.
therapeutic relationship encourages you to investigate that inner self and
become aware of how you want and need to express in this world. The discovery
of who you truly are lifts the veil of sadness and confusion so your wonderful
light may shine.
7. Change is the only constant in life
and therapy will help you through the changes.
It is that human part of us which craves
safety, familiarity, routine in our relationships, our professional lives and
our homes. But suppose the familiar and
safe are stopping us from growing into what we really need. I love these lyrics in a Rolling Stones song:
“You don’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you might just
find you’ll get what you need”. I was just a teenager when I first heard these
lyrics, didn’t quite get the full impact, but as my life has progressed through
the years, I understand completely. The
status quo is comfortable, but can also be deadening to our process of growth
and self –empowerment which are the reasons we are here on this plane. Life is
filled with countless opportunities for us to stretch our mental, emotional and
creative muscles, but we have to be willing to take risks and invite in change.
And change is hard and scary. Every client with whom I have worked for over
30 years has entered therapy because the status quo had become so painful that
change was necessary for them to find the tools needed to understand themselves
and ultimately move forward.
8.Therapy helps you understand the
Family of Origin System…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A gifted and
experienced psychotherapist introduces the client to the Family of Origin
System. Each of us has accepted the Life Script we learned from birth. Some
messages from our childhood are wonderful and life affirming, while others have
stymied our ability to succeed in a few or many areas. There is a cause for every effect. If we were
raised in a family which encouraged, loved, validated, guided and inspired each
child, that child would evolve into a successful and well adjusted adult. If
the opposite was true, the adult is in pain, confused, lost on the personal
and/or professional level. It is time for an intervention…. a journey through
our childhood Family System to understand and change any negative causes.
9.Therapy shows you how to be a shining
light for the world.
who commits to and works hard at developing the self awareness necessary to
become that confident, centered, high functioning person who shines a light of
positive, open energy stops the Multi-Generational Transmission Cycle. In other words, our thoughts, actions and
behavior are no longer involuntary. We are no longer marionettes on a string
manipulated by someone else. We have learned to truly BE the selves we were
born to express. And, we take that positive energy, that light, into every
transaction, every experience, every relationship and let our light and wisdom
inspire all with whom we come in contact.
10.Therapy teaches honest communication
and boundary setting.
Knowing who we
are and how we feel defines us as individuals. It is imperative that each
person communicates his/her feelings and thoughts in an open honest manner. If
not, we present a false self to the world and deny ourselves the pleasure of
connecting to others in a genuine manner. Honest communication sets boundaries
for who and what we are while allowing all with whom we come into contact to
experience a genuine human being
I realized while writing this article the
importance of really knowing and understanding the process and content of
psychotherapy. When I started my psychotherapy practice over 30 years ago,
there was no Internet, no Google, no Facebook and no therapy websites.
Referrals came from former clients who told their friends and colleagues how
much better they felt from psychotherapy with me. Today, there is so much
information available on the Internet that it can be confusing to anyone searching
for help and guidance. Therefore, in order to make the right choice of whom to
see, it is really imperative that the positive aspects of therapy be clearly
explained. As I said in my 10 reasons, it can be one of the most inspiring and
profound adventures into self- awareness a person will ever take. Writing this
reminded me, and I hope for all who read this, the phenomenal path to freedom,
self-awareness and personal/professional growth which therapy provides for all
not content with the status quo.