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How to know when to go to therapy

Honestly and sadly, most of us go to or back to therapy when things have fallen apart in our lives. When we feel helpless, unsure, scared and lonely. While this is normal and millions of people find exactly what they need, there is also a time when life is healthy, you are well, things are working, and you’re ready, before it breaks again or “the other shoe drops” to do a little self-work.

It is in a healthy “self-work” state when I find clients doing the really hard work, the life-changing work. They are able and strong and excited to be well, live well and create a new life. It is in this state of mind that I feel so honored to work with clients. They have an ability to be vulnerable and open and find their inner selves. It’s like losing 75 pounds after having been on a very strict diet and exercise routine, and ending your program to beginning to tone the new you. Focus on maintaining your wellness, and finding new ways to challenge your body to be amazing.

How do we get to this place, you may ask. Well, it all starts somewhere, right? We start with looking at our lives and deciding what we are doing is not what we want to be doing. Our relationships are not the ones we want to have. The choices we make are not fulfilling and authentic to the person we see, desire to be, or long to be. We start by looking at our picture of life and saying “I’m tired,” “I’m over it,” “I don’t want to do it like this anymore,” “Wow, it doesn’t get better no matter what I am doing,” and it is in this place that we call and say, “OK, I’m ready. I’m willing.” This is where we often start, and the rest is hard and challenging in a refreshing sort of way.

When beginning work with new clients, I often use the analogy of therapy being similar to house cleaning. First, we have to notice our house is dirty before we clean it. Then we begin to take everything off of the shelves, stack it in a pile behind us, and clean off all the shelves. It is then that we turn around and see we have created a bigger mess than we had to start with (the hardest part). It is then that we begin to examine our items, some we throw away, others we note need fixing, other items we give away, while some of it just needs a good wipe-down, then we put it back on the shelf. It is a “process” because we can’t do it all at once, and we have to go through each step in order to achieve the goal we have set out. This is the journey — dirty, hard, yet so rewarding and refreshing in the end. This is therapy. Come … Let me support you.

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Why should I go to therapy?

A client and I are in a session together. He or she begins to whisper when the conversation turns to explaining to others why they come to therapy. Often times, their voice turns softer, they look at me with lost eyes, and then begin almost desperately trying to justify every reason why they are sitting in front of me. It often feels like a slight mixture of fear, confusion, and desperation. Fear of judgment or having made the wrong choice, confusion because they are better now than when they started coming (but is this just because I am not as upset about “that thing” anymore?), and desperation because they want me to tell them that they are here for the right reasons and help comfort them in validating their choice.

Believe you me, a few years ago, and sometimes even today, I hear the above conversation, and the little voice in my head begins to panic and creates a cocktail that looks really similar to the above remedy. I too, doubt myself, my choices, my work, my actions, all at certain times … Why? Because I am a warm-blooded human who is scared like the rest of us, who wants to be sure that it makes sense and that “they” won’t “say” X, Y or Z about little old ME.

Well, here’s the honest to God truth: there is no such thing as “they.” “They” are YOU, and ME, and our NEIGHBORS, our FRIENDS. “They” are the next person who is scared, confusednand desperate.

So my answer to why do I go to therapy at times is this: “Because when I go and see Mark, I leave there feeling like for the last hour, I could just be me. I could talk about myself and how I felt, I could have him lovingly help me to see how what I am thinking or feeling or doing is or isn’t helping me and my relationships. When I do go to therapy, I feel heard, I feel valued, I feel insightful, open, willing, dedicated, determined, loving, happy, accepting, joy-filled, honored, excited, hopeful, eager, and most importantly and frankly, just BETTER.” I often find that the people to judge or ask me why I pay to go, or tell me their opinion as to why it’s not a good thing — “they” — those people, are often times the ones who need the most love and support and, yep, I’m gonna say it: THERAPY.

Do what you do for you and the world will be so rad!

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