What would be your initial reaction if a friend said, “I can’t meet up. I have to go to therapy.”? Chances are your mind would jump to questions like:
- Do they have a mental illness?
- Is their marriage falling apart?
- Are they recovering from addiction?
- Are there underlying family abuse or emotional issues?
None of these are particularly positive. In fact, any variation of the word “therapy” tends to lead to an unfairly negative connotation. There are dozens of different forms of therapy, however, ranging from psychodynamic therapy for depression to existential therapy for helping people find meaning in life. While many approaches are designed to relieve the suffering of those with various disorders, there are a handful of forms of therapy that are geared toward simply improving everyday living situations.
Here are four surprising reasons why people may go to therapy:
Adulting can be rough. Once you enter the workforce it feels like time is working against you. Your job can push and pull you in many directions, leaving your brain a muddled mess. Stress at work can lead to breakdowns and blowups. Starting a brand-new job can wreak havoc on your state of mind. There are also those who consider themselves “workaholics,” finding it impossible to disconnect from the office.
A good therapist can identify triggers that could be detrimental to your health and job. Luckily, many people are seeking guidance from therapists to help work through these situations so any heightened emotions are deflected, jobs and family lives are saved, and first-day jitters are eventually put to rest.
2. Relationships, Even the Good Ones
When a couple goes to therapy, it does not necessarily mean their relationship is doomed. Oftentimes they are simply going as a means to strengthen the relationship. This process is not limited to romantic relationships and can extend to a simple friend-to-friend relationship. No two people are perfect, nor will their ways of communication always be in sync.
For these couples and pairs, therapy is a way to open new channels of communication by working with a third-party mediator. This type of therapy is sometimes classified as interpersonal therapy, depending on the topics being discussed.
Agreeing as a unit to attend therapy is a huge step in a relationship because it shows both parties are willing to be open and honest about their thoughts and feelings. These attributes can prove beneficial as the relationship moves forward. Therapists are able to point out road blocks and keep your relationships — both platonic and romantic — happy and healthy.
Like work and relationships, parenting is no piece of cake. The struggles of raising children are universal, as are the stresses associated and the ever-accruing thoughts of how to be a better parent.
Therapists are able to examine both your behavior as a parent as well as a child’s issues. Family counselors can offer suggestions to ease those growing pains. Often, a therapist will recommend that a parent occasionally take some personal time away from parental duties to help recharge. It is important to retain a sense of self, to continue being a person, not only a parent. Therapy can help with this goal.
Sometimes we all need a voice of reason, one that can challenge our negative self-talk. People are turning to therapists for a friendly voice to push them toward self-acceptance. Therapy is a wonderful way to become grounded in reality regarding yourself and the world. Perhaps the truth about who you are is more positive than you first thought.
People often primarily describe therapy as treatment for mental health issues. Those who seek out therapy do not always have a “disorder,” however. They are simply looking for ways to enhance their lives. The next time you are looking for some support at work, with your child, or if you feel inspired to take your relationships to the next level consider connecting with a therapist. A peaceful mind is a peaceful life.