Should I go to therapy?
I just don’t know if it could help.
By Brooke Carson, MSW, LCSW
It takes courage to go to a therapist and it often takes people a while to get started. I’ve heard so many clients say that it was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made and that they wished they’d come sooner. What I’ve noticed is that therapy often ends up not only better than people expected, but also that it involves all kinds of very helpful aspects that clients didn’t expect or never imagined. I think that most people do expect the aspect of having someone to talk to who is very supportive and hopefully generally insightful. I think that what people find surprising is how much more specifically helpful therapy can be in terms of helping people gain new skills that they’ve never thought of and to find themselves on paths of change that they never envisioned before.
Sometimes clients’ responses to this remind me of when I had to have hand surgery a few years ago. Although I could roughly envision or guess about what the surgeon would do, I just couldn’t imagine how that could make my hand work again. But it did! It reminds me that, just because I can’t completely imagine how something is going to work or help me, doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t or that no such process exists. And, just because I don’t know how to operate on a hand, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other people who can. (Yay!)
Like my trouble envisioning that anyone could help my hand work again, I believe that often clients come in having trouble imagining how any process could lead to liking themselves more or being more hopeful about the future or being able to start rebuilding a relationship. I believe that parents often start out worried because they’ve done everything they could think of and can’t envision what other process could help their child work through a loss, manage anxiety or re-engage with the family. While there are no guarantees about if or how much therapy will help, I think that it’s helpful to understand that therapists often help people gain motivation, insights and skills to be on new paths that they couldn’t see before or paths that have benefits that one can’t see until they are on them. (Yay!)