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Do I REALLY need therapy? Isn't that just for really severely ill people?

When I tell strangers what I do for a living, the responses fall into one of two camps. Camp 1, that consists of the person that thinks I must be some sort of saint to listen to "crazy" people all day (interestingly enough, I often wonder if they are the most ashamed about their own human struggles), and Camp 2 that consists of the person that has either personally benefited from going or has a loved one who has benefited. I truly believe that it is a sign of resourcefulness and strength when a person is open to asking for help. The old school of thought was that only the weak need help (in any aspect of life). We now know that to be patently untrue. We all serve different roles and callings and we can all help one another. Asking for help is vulnerable, yes. In my book, vulnerability is bravery.

So, that being said, do you REALLY need therapy? Well, you ended up on my blog so there must be some part of you that thinks you do! All joking aside, the decision to look for professional help isn't always quick, impulsive or linear. Oftentimes we skirt around the issue for years, thinking that we get enough "therapy" from our friends, our religion, our self-help books, etc. Still, year after year, the same problems persist. Maybe we continue to suffer from insomnia no matter how great our sleep hygiene is, or how much we avoid caffeine. Perhaps we keep attracting people into our lives that make us feel the same way we did when we were small and it feels bad but we can't stop repeating this pattern. Maybe we thought that time would heal all wounds as popular culture likes to proclaim, but it hasn't. There is still a stigma to seeking mental health therapy and it's often the reason that we avoid making that first call for so long. Even now, as you're reading this, you may still be in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stage of change and months off from making the call. That's okay too. It can take a lot of courage to finally arrive at "enough is enough, I deserve a better life!"

Other reasons why *normal* people come see me for therapy:

*Persistent nightmares

*Addictive type behaviors that include shopping, too much tv/internet, comfort foods, moving from one relationship to the next

*Just not feeling much joy/feeling disconnected

*Feeling lonely

*Having the same recurring conflict with a parent or spouse

*Not enjoying motherhood like they thought they would

*Feeling angry/ashamed/depressed about not being able to conceive a child

*Not sure of their purpose

*Going through a life transition such as empty nest, getting married, pregnancy, mid life, retirement, etc. and experiencing feelings of anxiety about the unknown, depression and/or grief about things changing.

*Wishing you could "just get over it" about something but you can't

So, while there are many many more reasons that people seek therapy, some for more severe and chronic reasons than listed here, most clients that come through a therapist's door are simply imperfect humans just like the rest of us! We all have our struggles and strifes, imperfections and stumbling blocks. Therapy can help you reach new self-awareness, gain a fresh perspective, learn new coping skills, process old wounds, improve your thinking process, find healthier ways to manage your emotions and improve your relationships. Sound too good to be true? Why don't you be the judge? Be part of ending the stigma. We don't bite, I promise!

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