Jeff Guenther, MS, LPC on Feb 28, 2021
“Should I go to therapy?” is one of the questions I’ve been asked most in my life. I get it. I’m a therapist, which makes me an authority on all things therapy, right? Well, my answer is always the same: Yes. Yes, you should go to therapy. I don’t say this just so me and all my therapist friends can stay in business. I say this because therapy provides you with a deliberate place to grow. That’s what you’re supposed to do in therapy. You are meant to move forward and evolve. Why isn’t everyone in therapy? Or better yet, why isn’t everyone finding their therapist on therapyden.com?
Outside of the more common reasons to start therapy, such as relieving anxiety, dealing with depression, navigating an overwhelming relationship, or getting through a life transition, I want to highlight eight wonderful out-of-the-box reasons you should go to therapy that you may haven’t had considered yet.
Alright so this one is legit a little weird-sounding but stay with me here. You know how your parents tried their very best but they kinda sucked in some major areas? Well, get this. What if I told you that you could experience a parental relationship from someone who is specifically trained to have unconditional positive regard (which is another way of saying unconditional love) for you? Yeah, I know you might be an adult now and you don’t think you need some therapist to “parent” you but it’s not as creepy as it sounds. A therapist will accept all parts of you without judgement. A therapist will provide you with the care and empathy that you may have not gotten when you were younger. Being cared for in a compassionate and non-judgmental way is monumentally healing. But you have no idea how healing and life-changing it is until you experience it for yourself.
Have you ever wished that you had someone who was always rooting for you? Of course you do! It’s hard to find though, am I right? Your friends are cool but sometimes they’re super competitive. Or others can have a hard time celebrating with you if your life is improving and theirs is staying the same. Or maybe your people are just a little out of touch and don’t get what you’re doing. Your therapist deeply gets you, and one of their main goals is to encourage you to be brave and move forward. When amazing new things happen to you, they can’t wait to hear about it! Just wait until you experience how proud your therapist is going to be of you. It’s such a sweet feeling.
Life is unpredictable, and every now and then there’s some kind of crisis. It could be a sudden break up, an out-of-the blue lay off, a horrific assault... the list goes on. If you have an ongoing relationship with a therapist you’ll always have built-in emotional support and guidance that will help get you through a tough time. Whether it lasts a day or a year, your therapist will be there for you throughout the entire process. Sure, you could make an appointment with a new therapist right when danger strikes. But it’s so much better and more rewarding to make an emergency appointment with a current therapist who already knows you intimately.
Okay, you may not believe it, but your therapist (eventually) will know you better than you know yourself. Just trust me on this. They’ll be able to see when you’re starting a relationship that’s repeating old unhealthy patterns before you do. They’ll be able to warn you when your next anxiety attack will most likely come up. They’ll point out how dissatisfied you feel about your job before you’re able to connect those dots. So basically, do you want a fortune teller in your life? If you do, therapy could be a good fit.
You know all those changes you want to make but are too scared to try out in the real world? Well, therapy is the perfect place to try them on. Want to stand up to a parent who always lets you down? Want to act more confidently the next time you flirt with a cutie? Want to engage in more empathy next time you’re confronted with your sexist uncle? Try out all those scenarios in therapy. It’s okay if you’re messy or downright bad at it. Therapy can be used for personal research and development. It’s where you’re free to try out different parts of yourself that you want to bring into your everyday life.
As a therapist I feel as though it’s my duty to call out my clients about problematic behaviors or statements they’re making in their lives. Are you coming off as a bit racist when you go off on athletes who take a knee? Are you saying things that upset people when you talk about the #MeToo movement? Are you inadvertently pissing off your partner even though you’re trying to be supportive? People in your real life might be too offended to say something, and if they do say something you might feel attacked and get defensive. As your therapist, I’ll gently point out the feelings that are being invoked in me, or may be invoked in others, when you talk about these topics. We can talk about how your impact on people isn’t necessarily matching your intention and we can workshop ways for your actions to be more inline with your intent.
Honestly, and you don’t know this until you’ve been in therapy for a while, but when you have a strong relationship with your therapist, it’s super weird. Weird in a good way, I promise! The relationship is completely one-sided because you don’t really get to know your therapist's personal story. You’ve shared your deepest secrets and traumas with them, experiences that maybe haven’t been shared with anyone else. You experience nonstop care, warmth, empathy and compassion from them, which causes you to feel incredibly safe. The list goes on. It’s not something that you can wholly experience in any other relationship because you don’t really have to take the therapist's needs into consideration. It can feel very one-sided but in the most fantastic way.
Hands down my favorite part of being a therapist is providing my client with a grounding force in their life. People may come in and out of your life, careers can go on different paths, your city may change around you, but as your therapist, I will consistently be there. You can count on me. It’s my job to be counted on. I mean sure, I might have to cancel an appointment every now and then, but that happens rarely. And sure, there’s a chance I might not be on top of my game every single session. But I, and most all therapists, are a model of consistency. And one day, if you decide to take a break from therapy, I’ll always gladly accept you back when you’re ready. Whether it’s for a quick update or a new emotional journey, you can always count on a therapist to be the anchor in your life when things feel a little too crazy.