People born before the millennial generation are probably having a hard time wrapping their minds around today’s culture of therapy. Back in the day, if you had a therapist then you were automatically labelled “crazy.” You may have even been considered rich, but you were definitely crazy. The stigma of going to therapy was enough for clients to hide it from their friends, family, and coworkers. But today, “therapy” is just another buzzword. In fact, people have even become pretentious about it. Clients today are going to the mountaintops to scream about their therapists and therapy sessions. But I’m not here to talk about how people choose to share this part of their lives. I’d rather discuss the kind of person it takes to seek out help in the first place.
Here’s the truth about people with therapists:
We care about who, what, where, and why we are.
Some people don’t know who they are. They don’t know what they’re made of or where they are currently. Most importantly, they don’t know why they are. People who go to therapy care about putting the puzzle pieces together. They care about discovering their identity and learning how to use it to help themselves and others. I like to think I evolve every 90 days so it’s important for me to always be in tune with who I am in the present moment. It’s also important for me to know what’s still playing in the background and influencing my thoughts and actions. Therapy for me is simply embracing all of the different versions of myself that I’ve been and the version that I’m growing into.
We don’t try to hide the fact that we have issues.
Obviously we know we have issues if we sought therapy. But we understand that having issues doesn’t mean we’re broken, it means we’re human. Before therapy, I was someone who hid my flaws and struggles until I “overcame” them. No one could know what I was struggling with until it was no longer a struggle for me. But to be completely honest, that only made me feel isolated.
We’re very self-aware.
We know what drives our actions, good or bad. We know what drives our thoughts, good or bad. Between our constant questions in therapy and our therapist providing constant clarity, we become good at pinpointing our own bullshit in situations. Yesterday I walked into my session like, “Wow, my need to be perfect is really fucking me over right now.” Very rarely am I in a situation and don’t know what role I played in getting me there. Even if I don’t admit it aloud, I usually know the underlying driving force. Before therapy, it was everyone’s fault but mine and life was simply out to get me.
We’re everyone else’s free therapist.
Some people are still hesitant about telling a stranger their problems but no one is hesitant about hearing what you learned from your experience. It’s only human to be curious about what you’re made of but some people would rather not open that door. Whether they can’t afford therapy or they simply don’t believe in it, most people will still be open to hearing the things that helped you get to where you are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They’ll ask you for advice and you’ll probably end up reiterating some shit your therapist told you – for free.
Let’s sum this up:
I went 8 years without talking to a professional after surviving the death of my mother and siblings. I tried it once or twice before but never returned after the first session. I wasn’t ready to open the door of figuring out who, what, where, and why I am the person that I am. Since becoming a client, I’ve made it my mission to embrace everything that had a hand in making me, me! I’m so glad that the culture is changing; I’m glad the stigma is disappearing but let’s not be pretentious about it. Instead, we should be reminding people that therapy is simply a tool.
Thanks for reading.