Therapy is a Sign Strength!
Deciding to engage in psychotherapy or “therapy” is neither an easy decision nor one that should be taken lightly. For many it takes weeks before you gain the courage to pick up the phone and call a therapist for your first appointment. Many new clients say in their first meeting, “I should have done this a long time ago.” I applaud new clients/patients in taking the first and crucial step in moving towards improved functioning and a healthier life.
For some people it takes quite some time to get to the place where you recognize you need professional help; for others, you are likely following the recommendation or insistence of another person and may feel a little (or a lot) apprehensive about the process. And then there are those persons who believe it is in his/her best interest to get support and help with their current stress but they don’t know where to start.
In either case, therapy is about facilitating change. Therapy helps the client to explore and resolve difficult life changes. As a person becomes more self-aware and accepting of themselves, they are able to live more fully and authentically and are capable of finding joy and contentment in their lives. The goal in therapy is to better understand how we behave and what motivates us, which can enable change to take place in our lives.
Psychotherapy is a “team” process, a “collaboration”, if you will, that is critical to the process of treatment. It is the responsibility of the individual seeking support to come to therapy prepared with what needs to be processed and/or discussed. Remember, you are the expert in your life, the narrator of your story-who can tell it better than you! It is the therapist’s responsibility to create a safe atmosphere and a trusting relationship in which you feel safe enough to disclose and share very difficult and painful thoughts and feelings. For someone to benefit from psychotherapy he/she needs to have some degree of curiosity about how the mind works.
Psychotherapy can be a painful and disturbing process because it involves giving attention to parts of our lives which we would rather suppress or not know about, much less talk about. For some individuals this process can be too disturbing to embark on while maintaining their normal day to day lives. This can change over time in therapy depending on the person’s particular situation and stage in life. Stage of change refers to a person’s readiness or motivation to modify or change something in their life. Identifying your state of change will greatly improve your progress in considering change.
How to Identify Your Stage of Change:
- Pre-contemplation-Not yet considering change
- Contemplation-Considering change
- Preparation-Planning and committing to change
- Action-Making the behavior change.
- Maintenance-Maintaining & sustaining change.
- Relapse-I slipped up or returned to the behavior.
There is no good or bad or right or wrong in your state of readiness; however, if you’re not ready you will not be as successful as someone who has determined ‘enough is enough, I’m ready to be well.”
I often hear from clients that seeking psychotherapy means that you are “crazy.” Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, seeking psychotherapy is a very private matter, which requires courage and is usually a sign that someone really wants to get to the heart of whatever is troubling them.