How Therapy Is Like Any Other Relationship You Have
Let me first start off by saying that when I say therapy I don't necessarily mean going to talk to a therapist. That is one type of therapy that I do, but there are so many other options when it comes to therapy! Therapy can be writing, painting, playing a sport, going on walks with your dog, and etc.. My number one type of therapy is going to talk to a therapist, but that's just me! It didn't always used to be my number one type of therapy and it may not be in the future, but it is right now. That's what I'm going to be talking about in this blog post the most!
These are the similarities I have found between going to therapy and being in a relationship...
It Has To Be A Good Match For You
I've been going to the same therapist for the past two years. However, she is not the first therapist I have ever gone to. I had seen three other therapists before I started going to her. The reason for this was because the other three just weren't a good match for me! I only met with each of them once and I could instantly tell that they weren't a good therapist for me. This is just like when you meet any other type of person!
You can meet hundreds of people, but that doesn't mean you will ever develop a friendship or relationship with them. They're either a good match for you or not. It doesn't mean they aren't good people; they may just not be a good person for you! And that's ok! Just because you go on one date with a guy does not mean you are locked in to them just like if you go to one therapy session with a therapist. You're not locked in to them and they aren't your only option. There are soooo many therapists to choose from! It's just a matter of finding the one for you.
How did I know my therapist was the one? From the very first session with her, I felt understood in a way that I had never felt before. I actually told her a past trauma that I had never told ANYONE (seriously, anyone) in my first session with her. It's like my subconscious was waiting to share that past trauma with her. After I shared it with her, I was in complete shock that those words came out of my mouth. I wasn't planning to tell her. It just happened and that's when and how I knew I had found my therapist.
It Takes Time To Develop
You can't expect to fall in love with someone or become best friends with someone the first time you meet. It takes time. You can't expect all your problems to go away after one session of therapy. It takes time. Growth happens after you have worked on it for a period of time.
It's important to know that therapy is hard work and does take time to see tremendous progress. The stigma of going to therapy being considered weak is the furthest thing from the truth. It's you accepting and realizing that you need and want help. You're willing to take the time to talk about your flaws and life in order to change how you respond and react to certain situations.
Of course, the time I spend in therapy I could be doing something more "fun", but skipping out on therapy wouldn't really get me anywhere. The time I spend in therapy adds up to growth. The more time you spend with someone, the closer you get to become to them.
It's Not Just All Talk, It Takes Actions Too
Talking with a therapist is much more than venting your problems and them telling you techniques to get through life. If it were that way, that would be so surface level. Just like with a relationship or friendship. If someone told you how much you mean to them, but then doesn't ever follow that up with an action displaying that, it doesn't really mean or change anything. It keeps things pretty surface level.
Going to therapy, your therapist will start to see patterns in your negative thoughts and behaviors and then give you strategies and techniques. Growth doesn't really happen until you start applying those things to your life. Your problems aren't "fixed" just by talking about them. It takes actions too. You will have to change the way you live life or deal with certain situations for therapy to progress. If you're just all talk, it doesn't really go anywhere. Just like with any relationship or friendship.
It Changes Your Life
I think it's safe to say that any relationship or friendship you've ever had has changed your life in some type of way. Whether that be for the better or for the worse. Whether that be a big change or microscopic change. It changes your life.
For me, therapy has been the most life changing thing I have ever done. It has allowed me to pursue the life that I want to live and the person that I want to be. I've learned to set boundaries and how they are necessary in any healthy relationship you have. I've learned to not worry about what other people think of me all of the time. I've let my values and passions guide me through life instead of what I think others expect from me.
If I never started going to therapy, I know that I wouldn't be the person that I am today. Therapy has changed my life for the better and I don't regret it one bit. There were and are uncomfortable moments I've felt because of what I've learned about in therapy. However, those uncomfortable times have allowed me to live a less anxiety filled life. I wouldn't trade that for living life how I did before therapy. I feel this exact way with the relationships that mean the most to me today. Even though there may have been hard or uncomfortable moments, the way it's led me to where we are today, I wouldn't trade those moments.