“Can you keep a secret”
“Yeah, I’m listening. What’s up?”
“Well,” she hesitates and takes a deep breath, “my mom says I have to start going to therapy.”
“Oh, that’s not so bad! How come that’s such a big secret? How do you feel about all of that?”
“I’m just really nervous and don’t want to actually go. I don’t get why my mom thinks that’s the best answer to all my problems!”
The short dialogue above is a sneak peak into a conversation I had with one of my close friends at Orange Lutheran’s lunch tables. Growing up I have had multiple friends go through therapy both temporarily and long term. However, it always is a touchy subject, rarely spoken of, even though countless students and adults can relate through their own experiences.
Society praises, what I observe to be, the three “S”s: stress, strength, and success. In other words, a healthy amount of stress motivates one to persevere and have strength to then succeed in everyday life. In addition, stress and business indicate that an individual has an intentional purpose in their day to day life and all that they do or get done is important and significant to either themselves or society around them. The issue is, when the threshold of a healthy amount of stress is not met or surpassed then anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues often come into play that ultimately require and benefit from therapy.
On the other hand, therapy is not only for those with clinical or diagnosed mental issues. Anyone and everyone can benefit from therapy. Whether the therapist is considered a psychologist, life coach, or counselor, they are known for teaching problem solving techniques, listening to verbalized feelings, while supporting and motivating clients.
Therapy is highly common, and therefore it should be treated as so. The unfortunate truth is that many people taking therapy feel ashamed of it because they feel as if they have failed in some aspect of life, are too weak to navigate life on their own, or so vulnerable that they need paid help. However, everyone has their own struggles, we all simply deal them differently. Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a psychologist in Pasadena, Calif, explains that “it’s the most courageous and humble people who are willing to reach out for help or to make a good life great” (Tartakovsky). Therapy is an amazing way to process life stressors (even if they aren’t life altering or traumatic), handle emotions, improve relationships, problem solve, and achieve set goals. The humility that is required to partake in the process should be recognized and not put to shame, for the world is always in need of more patience and compassion. Furthermore, communities, like Orange Lutheran, should prioritize the importance of, and promote personal growth among individuals through therapy or counseling, so that we can all understand ourselves and those around us on a more intentional, empathetic level.
Photo Credit: therapyroute.com