No doubt about it, mental health is still a topic many people refuse to talk about, for varying reasons. But, if we are to continue breaking the stigma and making a difference in the world, it’s important we focus on the benefits that come from therapy, not the perceived ‘awkward’ that tends to be associated with seeking out support.
Call me biased but I fundamentally believe therapy works. It frees people from years of psychological turmoil, unravels family dysfunction and writes new stories of hope where there has only ever been heartache. Quite simply it puts people on the pathway to the life they deserve. For many, therapy is literally a LIFE SAVING intervention.
Therapy is an investment in your future, not a dent in your bank balance.
Still not convinced that getting support on board is worth it? Read on to learn 5 ways that therapy might help YOU move through difficult times...
You’ll have someone hold space for your big emotions
Anger? Shame? Guilt? Self hate? Regret? Therapists have seen it all. Nothing scares us. When in therapy, you’re free to feel all the feels - unapologetically. A good therapist will encourage you to listen to the feelings and to look for their meaning, or message. You never have to ‘feel bad’ for feeling whatever it is you’re feeling, we wont rush you or force you along a timeline. We want you to sit in those big, often overwhelming, feelings! Sitting in them forces you to confront and attend to them... the classic ‘getting uncomfortable to get to comfortable’. This release, or permission to feel, is a massive help for clients who have 'held back the wave' for too long.
You’ll be free of judgement
When you find the therapist for you, the right therapist for you... you will be free. Of ‘right and wrong’ moral judgments. Of shaming. Of shoulds and shouldn’t’s. As therapists it’s not our place to send solutions or force agendas as can often be experienced when sharing your challenges with well meaning friends or family members. We won’t think you’re weak, dumb, hopeless, useless, incapable or any of the other things you, or others, may have said about you. It might come as a surprise to people but therapists do genuinely care about their clients, myself included. In my practice unconditional positive regard for my clients is what sees them EXCEL in ways they never thought possible. As a therapist, I'm your cheerleader, not a high and mighty critic!
You’ll have the freedom to be who and what you need to be
During therapy it’s normal to swing between feeling strong and empowered to feeling deflated and overwhelmed. It’s so normal, therapsits expect it! And we want you to know IT’S OK! When working on self development you’re ALLOWED to question yourself, you’re allowed to reflect and review, you’re allowed to cry, get angry or drop an ‘F bomb.’ YOU ARE ALLOWED! When you’re with us you don’t have to wear a mask, pretend or work towards a ‘desired’ outcome. You just have to be you! For some people this in itself provides huge relief - the feeling of no longer have to ‘fake’ something for the benefit of others.
You'll receive validation of your experience
I must say, in my years as a therapist, and having been a counselling client myself in the past, validation is one of THE biggest benefits of attending therapy. For many people having a stranger say “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry this is happening” or “Wow, that must have been tough” or “I think anyone going through that would feel lost”... whatever the scenario might be, is HUGELY liberating. Those statements help clients feel heard, supported and empowered. (That’s where the She Counselling mantra came from!) They reassure the client that they are normal because so many clients carry the weight of stories like “I must be weird” or “There’s got to be something wrong with me.” Validation, without any other underlying intention, is something that really helps people get unstuck and allows them to start moving in the direction of better mental health. As humans we are hard wired to seek the acceptance of others (this stems from our caveman origins and relates to social inclusion and survival) so having another human include and accept us and our experience as normal, is reassuring and very comforting.
You'll find hope again
Without a doubt in the world THE single most reported benefit of attending therapy (in my practice anyway!) is the benefit of finally finding hope. When clients arrive for their first appointment with me they are often at their wits end. They are exhausted and barely able to see the light. They are desperate for help but they don’t know where to start. Many people often have no hope at all, they can’t see the future but they just want the pain to end. What I always say to my clients is “Let me carry hope for you until you find your own.” I remind my clients that HOPE actually stands for Hold On Pain Ends - that one usually gets a smile.
So there we go, insight into how therapy might help YOU. Hopefully it inspires you to take action and start working towards the future you deserve. The future that IS within your reach.
If you’ve enjoyed this article you may also like my articles What Happens In Your First Counselling session and 5 Ways To Overhaul Your Mental Health Today. And, as always, if you feel like you’re ready to take the brave step of getting support on board you can reach out to me here for more information. My services are available Australia wide. It would be my honour to support you. x
Until next week...
Yours in better mental health,
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Erica has a passion for Women’s Health. She works with women who want to be heard, supported and empowered! Erica is a survivor of many life experiences. A Mum. A travel lover. A green thumb in training and an eternal optimist!