These days it is almost impossible to find someone who has not been to therapy at some point. More and more people are finding their way to a therapist, coach, or other social worker. This is of course a very positive development, but strangely enough, the taboo on therapy has hardly diminished. Getting professional help is and remains a big step. Because if you go into therapy, isn’t there something completely wrong with you? And isn’t it a sign of weakness not to be able to solve your own problems?
Why is therapy taboo?
Almost everyone encounters psychological problems at some point in his or her life. Yet we often choose to keep walking around with those problems. Men, in particular, often tend to laugh at professional help. Why?
My problem is not ‘bad’ enough
Many people still think that you really have to be at rock bottom before you can seek the help of a therapist. If you have a good life – a roof over your head, a loving partner, healthy children, a challenging job – then you have no right to complain, right? Then you should not be unhappy. This line of thinking keeps many people from seeking help.
It’s a shame because a therapist is not only for people with severe psychological problems. The ‘small’ complaints are also allowed: the dissatisfaction with the daily routine, the stress of work, the recurring fights with your partner. In fact, the sooner these problems are dealt with, the better. Happiness is not found in external factors, but in your psyche. Everyone has the ‘right’ to be uncomfortable in his or her skin and to ask for help.
When I need help, I’m weak
Within society, there is still the idea that you are weak if you need help. And if you don’t care about what someone else thinks of you, you may be your own worst enemy. Many people think of themselves as weak when they need help. That’s a belief we’d better eliminate as soon as possible. Not getting help when you need it is weak. Taking good care of yourself by asking a professional for help makes you stronger.
Therapy is ‘not for me’
For many people, the idea of sitting in a chair across from a total stranger and spilling out your life story is frightening. Isn’t it crazy to talk about the most intimate topics with this unknown therapist? Can I do that at all? What if I have to cry? Many find it hard to imagine that this can really work. Then the excuse “that’s not for me” comes up. These excuses are unnecessary because a therapist is trained to put you at ease and respect your boundaries.
Why you can’t always do it alone
- You cannot get a good perspective on your own situation. It is extremely difficult to detect where certain problems come from in yourself. We are often not aware of our limiting behaviors and thought patterns and do not see that it can be different. You may know yourself best, but that does not mean that you are the right person to solve your own problems.
- Friends and family are subjective. You may have already indicated to friends or family that you are not doing well. That’s a good move because a social safety net gives us a shoulder to cry on and gives us a nudge in the right direction. However, friends and family are often in the middle of the situation or know you too well to give you objective advice.
- A therapist is an equal discussion partner. Because a therapist is an outsider, he or she can assess your situation much better. A therapist is objective, has no prejudices, and thinks nothing is crazy. He or she has also learned not to overwhelm you with advice, but to ask in-depth questions. This way you will look differently at your own life, behavior, and thoughts and you will discover new possibilities and solutions.
The taboo on therapy is unnecessary
One suffers from stress and strain, another from relationship problems, and the next is struggling with questions of meaning. Everyone can recognize themselves in other people’s stories about life phases in which things are not going so well. That’s because we all get stuck at some point in certain routines, habits, and thinking patterns. And sometimes they make sure that we do not succeed in shaping our lives the way we would like to.
Everyone should be in therapy
Everyone can benefit from therapy to a greater or lesser degree. Even if there is nothing concrete wrong, improvement is often possible. You can see a visit to the therapist as maintenance of your mental health. Therapy does not have to last long or be emotionally intense. A visit to a therapist is like taking a step back: how are you really doing? Who knows what beautiful eye-openers will come out of it!
Therapy increasingly accessible
Making the decision to seek professional help is often the most difficult. Fortunately, therapy is becoming more accessible, especially now that many therapists also offer their services online. You can now easily get help from home, without the intervention of your family doctor. And once that first step has been taken, you will undoubtedly find that therapy becomes easier and more natural.
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