Why Therapy? "The gains are very much worth the pain."
For those of you just joining us for my series on the awesomeness of therapy.
I asked several friends who have gone or are going to therapy to tell me why they sought out this kind of help, and I got some incredible responses back.
I think that most (if not all) of you will be able to recognize something of yourself in one of these beautiful women whom I am privileged to know.
Today’s post will be especially helpful to those of you who have not suffered serious abuse but nonetheless have wounds to deal with due to your family of origin (and I mean...who doesn't have wounds like this?). Celeste is also an excellent example of someone who went through multiple "rounds" of therapy and found that she benefited from each in different ways.
Please note that I have changed the names of these women to protect their privacy.
I knew that I would benefit from therapy long before I was ready to actually seek it out. I had some deep wounds from my family of origin and then from my college years which remained a hidden source of great distress for me for a long time.
It was when I was in my mid-twenties and was experiencing the worst anxiety/depression of my life that I finally went to a counselor.
I was very fearful at first, and did not disclose to that counselor the things that were troubling me most.
Also, this counselor and I didn't live our faith in quite the same way, which was limiting, but despite these things, I believe my sessions with her helped me to name certain things, especially about my relationship with my mother, and to begin to understand the meaning of healthy boundaries.
My experiences there (which lasted five or six months) definitely helped me to weather that stormy time with a modicum of sanity. The second therapist I worked with has been a true gift. She fully shares the same values, is present to me in the way I need her to be, and truly challenges me to articulate my needs, which is one of my greatest areas of struggle.
I have fully entrusted to her all my deepest wounds and though I continue to struggle, I have reached a point of healing that I used to doubt was possible.
I owe therapy a great deal. Without it, I don't think I would have had the courage or hope to enter into and sustain a romantic relationship. This is perhaps the most concrete evidence of the help that therapy has given me.
I did not have a serious relationship until age 29, after a steady year of working with my counselor.
To anyone afraid to take the first step, I would say that there is nothing as unnerving as that first meeting, and that if you find a well-recommended therapist who shares your values, you have a great chance of achieving some lasting and life-changing healing.
The gains are very much worth the pain.
Coming next week: Why I decided to go to therapy, and the practical tools I've gained through the work I've done in counseling.