1. Those patterns of thinking (obsessive, anyone?), feeling (math tests make you anxious?), and behaving (ever have a relationship with the “same” person twice? Five times?) have their roots in your childhood. And guess what—when you were a kid, those patterns were great adaptations to your young self’s situation! They may have saved your life. So don’t be so hard on yourself if they don’t work so well for you any more. You can change them. It won’t be easy, but there are tools you can learn in therapy to be more aware of automatic patterns when they happen, and then to create new patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that serve you much better.
2. EVERYONE thinks that their “shadow self” would make them unlovable if other people really knew them. Do any of these sound like you- “people think I’m confident, but I’m secretly afraid of failure all the time”, “People think I’m smart, but if they only knew how hard I had to study/how lucky I was on that test/how much I really don’t know, etc.”, “People think I have it all going on, but my life feels empty of real meaning”, etc., etc. If you have these thoughts, you are not alone. As a therapist, I can tell you that you would be very surprised to know some of the people who feel this way. Think POTUS and “small hands”.
3. You can work on your relationship(s) without the other person being in therapy. Therapy changes how you interact with the world. As you grow and change, your relationships will, too. They have to change—you are not playing the same role. The old dynamic disappears and a new one will slowly emerge. Often your partner will see your changes and want something similar for themselves. Sometimes they are not willing to do the work to grow with the relationship, and the relationship fades. Either way, nothing stays the same.
4. Therapy is not just talking; you will get tools to make your life better. Many therapists will help you gain insight about (and compassion for) the reasons you think and feel and act a certain way. This alone can make you feel heaps better. But there should be more. Depending on what you are looking for, you will learn communication skills, ways of reducing and managing anxiety, ways of thinking that make you happier, techniques for reducing certain behaviors, and how to clarify your values and live a life where you thrive.
5.Therapy is fun, hard, and rewarding. First it’s fun, then hard, then rewarding—repeat. We laugh a lot in therapy. Why not? Life is funny; humans are funny. We enjoy the crazy goofiness of it all. Then it’s hard. It can be excruciating to bring to light a problem that you have been ignoring for years, and not be able to change it right away. The “knowing before changing” phase is the worst. Nobody anticipates this awkward phase, but it happens every time. Everyone knows the phrase “ignorance is bliss” for a reason! And then the changes begin, and life feels magical…
Self-understanding is not easy, but it is exciting! And the personal growth that often follows can change your life. Once you start on this path, you will want to continue to grow for the rest of your life! Btw—I do NOT mean to do therapy for the rest of your life! Au contraire. I want to give you the tools to continue to grow on your own. My job is to make my job obsolete!
Have more questions about therapy?
Finding a therapist all on your own can be confusing and frustrating. Please feel free to call or email me for a free 20 minute phone consultation to talk about how therapy might be helpful for you. I can also help you find someone in your area who might be a good fit. I want you to feel better and create a life of joy and meaning as soon as possible! Give me a call and we will get you started.