- 1. You will feel better physically and emotionally.
Depression and anxiety, the two most common mental health disorders, often have crippling physical effects. This is because psychological pain often triggers physical symptoms – fatigue, muscle aches, shortness of breath, lowered immune system response, migraines, heart palpitations, and insomnia (to name a few). Going to successful therapy can significantly and positively impact both the emotional and physical issues. In certain cultures where therapy is stigmatized, somatic responses are normal and a way the body responds to the lack of emotional expression. When your feelings are buried and out of consciousness, you can have stomach aches, headaches, sleeping problems…but when you are able to start talking about these stressors and feel relief, the physical symptoms also subside.
- 2. You will gain perspective on yourself and those around you.
Therapy not only helps you understand yourself, but it helps you better understand other people. Prior to therapy, the negative thoughts you hold often lead you to make assumptions about yourself, and others, that may not always be true. Through the therapeutic process, you can start to break down defenses and start a journey of self-reflection. As this happens, you are in a position to better understand your own intentions and motivations. While increasing insight into your own problems, you will be better equipped to understand thoughts and feelings other people may be experiencing in interpersonal situations as well.
- 3. You will feel more prepared for future stressors.
A life free of problems may seem impossible – but that’s because it is. The goal of therapy is not to get “rid” of all problems; rather, the goal is to provide you with skills to cope with stressors, both big and small, in a healthy, positive way. Talking through your problems with your therapist can lead to understanding the emotional and environmental triggers that may have led you to conflict. As you achieve a greater understanding of yourself, you can also learn to respond to situations in proactive rather than reactive ways.
- 4. You will know you are not alone.
From the beginning, you can find comfort in knowing you’re taking action and working on helping yourself by starting therapy. Additionally, one of the major benefits of therapy is simply knowing you have someone in your corner. Unlike your friends, your therapist gives you their undivided, non-judgmental, attention. Your therapist is someone that you can go to once a week (or more), who is still going to be there the week after no matter how bad things may get.
- 5. You will feel the positive effects of therapy beyond your sessions.
You may come to therapy to deal with a crisis, manage your anxiety, or better cope with depression. However, being in therapy is about more than just being “not depressed.” Therapy helps you be the best version of yourself – the version that is happier, more confident, and more productive. When you start working through your “stuff” in therapy, you’re developing tools to deal with future problems (See #3 above). These are tools many clients continue to use long after therapy stops. Just because you stop talking to your therapist about your thoughts and feelings does not mean you stop having them. After therapy, you often internalize the process of talking things out with your therapist and can engage in self-reflections that continue to help you long after your last session.
What I hope this list taught you is that therapy isn’t just for life-shattering tragedies. Therapy can help you engage in self-compassion, help you gain a better understanding of yourself and others, and assist you in communicating your emotions with more ease.
So even if your life seems “pretty okay,” why not give therapy a chance?