We, as a society, have had a strange relationship with therapy. Mental health treatment was previously big and scary and segregating. Individuals with mental health issues were viewed as weak or damaged. Society believed that someone needed to be “put away” somewhere where they can be “fixed.” We don’t need to get into the nitty gritty of what was done way back in the day…
Now, there is a much more accepting perspective around therapy and mental health. More people are open about what they go through and ways they’ve gotten help. Whether the help is therapy or medications or spending time in a psychiatric setting, there are ways to help. The pandemic (as difficult as it was) has created an opportunity for therapy to be conducted online. Many of my clients have sessions in their beds! What better place to discuss difficult issues than in the safety of your own home?!
But now, with a more open approach to mental health, there is still some fear that goes along with admitting to needing or wanting help. A family member told me that a lot of her friends struggle with mental health, but are intimidated by the idea of therapy. When I first started attending therapy myself in college, I didn’t tell many people in my support system. I kept it hidden because I worried about what people would think of me or say. After I realized therapy was so helpful, I started telling anyone that would listen about my experience!
Part of my job as a therapist is to encourage people to seek help and to support them. Therapy is a place to open up; it’s a place to find safety and encouragement. It gives clients a chance to have an objective perspective of what is going on in their lives. A therapist is someone who encourages, challenges, educates and supports. They learn about what is going on in your life and help you find ways to manage everything. Who doesn’t want someone in their life who can do all of that?
How does therapy start?
Therapy involves developing a relationship. Studies have shown that the therapeutic relationship is an important factor is success in therapy. That’s why therapists discuss fit – it should feel like a good relationship. That doesn’t mean that a therapist has to be your friend, but you should feel comfortable with the person and like you all are on the same page. Once there is a relationship established, the work can really begin. It is very important that clients feel comfortable and safe with their therapist. That doesn’t mean that you all are friends – it means they are someone you trust with your difficulties.
How do I know if I should seek therapy?
Some people come to therapy to address past trauma, some come to address grief, some come to address lack of motivation. In my personal life, I tell my friends to think about what they’d like their life to look like. If they would like to continue with their minds and hearts as they are, then don’t seek services. But, if things start to feel overwhelming or you’d like a change, then reach out to someone. Something big and scary doesn’t have to have happened for you to speak with someone. In fact, if you know something big is about to happen in your life, it might be worth it to start therapy beforehand! You and your therapist can help find ways to best manage and handle the big thing that is going to happen. If you are ready for things to change, reach out to a therapist!
How do I know if my kid should seek therapy?
This is actually very similar to deciding for yourself! If your kid has experienced trauma, grief, lack of motivation or sadness, then they can seek therapy. If they seem overwhelmed or have new issues they haven’t experienced before, they might want a new type of help. Your kids may be able to tell you that they are struggling and need help! If so, discuss what help they need; is it support for parents or a therapist or implementing a new coping skill? Depending on their answer, seeking therapy may be the best option for them. I’ll say it again – if you’d like your child to continue with their minds and hearts as they are, don’t seek services. But, if it seems like it’s time for a change, reach out.
Hopefully this has given you more of an idea of what therapy is and can be. It is important to me that clients understand that I am not in the business of “fixing” people. More often than not, people don’t need to be fixed! I am in the business of helping, challenging, educating, supporting and encouraging people to manage their life in a new way.
I (Gillian) am the owner of Tavernier Therapy Group. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Provider and a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider. I work with teenagers who struggle to connect with their parents and am currently accepting clients! Take a look around my website and get to know me. I look forward to hearing from you!