There could be an entire series of books written about why therapy is important. For the sake of time and interest let’s start with some basics; therapy provides a safe space both physically and emotionally, it helps establish a genuine human connection, it can offer you the opportunity to identify your potential, and most importantly therapy is your time to be heard.
It can be challenging to disclose personal information when you are physically tense and uncomfortable. My hope as a therapist, for my office, is to provide a calm and serene environment. It is a physical space that is separate from the chaos of the outside world. When you walk into your therapist’s office, you are not just walking into an office but walking out of the chaos and into order. The office is often dimly lit, smells of calming essential oils, decorated with calming intent, and of course a comfy couch with an assortment of pillows. If you are lucky, there might even be candy. A tranquil office is the first step in fostering a feeling of safety and security.
As human beings, we crave human connection. This is the reason that many of us are addicted to social media (more on this in another post). Human connection is a driving force in our lives; it is the feeling you get when your partner acknowledges a sacrifice you made for the relationship. It is grabbing a beer with a friend after work so that you can vent about the past week. Alternatively, that tiny tear you shed and the fuzzy feeling in your stomach when you watch a romantic comedy at the movies. Unfortunately, many of us do not experience genuine human connection regularly; it might be that you’re lonely and that loneliness drives you to seek seclusion from the rest of the world. It may be the case that you were never taught to have a genuine connection with another person (this is more common than you would think). Therapy is your time to be heard; it is a chance for your therapist to show your capacity for genuine relationships and help you realize your potential for that connection.
What is your potential? I am not sure if I can adequately answer this question, it might be a good question to ask your therapist. Nonetheless, I will give it my best shot. Let us start with the idea that potential is the full capabilities of our future self. First of all, we need to know our present self before we can identify what we are capable of in the future. Ah Ha! Another question for your therapist. Who am I? (this question is also more common than you might think) I believe that by examining our past, including achievements and successes, we can help define who we are presently thus allowing us to map out a future ideal for ourselves. I do not believe I gave sufficient thought to the idea of potential, however, for this post, this explanation should suffice. (I plan to expound on this idea in the future)
You might have heard someone describe therapy as, “I pay some guy to listen to me to talk” and that’s not too far from the truth. The keyword in there is listen; it is astonishing how little time we spend listening to one another. How often do you find yourself waiting to talk rather than listening to someone? I imagine pretty often. Listening is a skill that takes a tremendous amount of effort. To give a person your undivided attention is near to impossible. Not only is almost no one good at it… this world isn’t good at giving us space for it. Therapy is that space. For the hour that you are in therapy, you are the center of our focus. You are what matters most. To be honestly heard is a gift worth giving, maybe consider giving a therapist the opportunity to show you what it is to have someone listen to you with empathy and understanding.