What's Therapy About, Anyway?
Maybe you'd like to try therapy, or have had friends suggest it, but you're apprehensive. Lying on a leather sofa while some old guy writes about you in a notebook you can't see? No thanks. You already don't like to get out of your comfy clothes to leave the house on your downtime, thanks very much, and you especially aren't going to just so some stranger can ask how you feel about your mother. While some therapists may approach therapy that way, the majority of us have a much more democratic and down-to-earth approach to working with clients. Therapy has come a long way from the stuffy days of Freud.
Fun fact: Unlike Betty Draper's therapist, none of us will share information with a third party without your consent. Cool, right?
It's hard to really define what modern-day therapy is, since it's such a personal process. I know some people who prefer a really formal authority figure in their therapist, and others who do well with a therapist who feels like an old friend.
As a therapist and someone who's been to therapy (I still go every now and then for mental health tune-ups!), I've had a lot of time to develop my own working definition of therapy. If you're seeking therapy, know that you have the right to find therapy that is a good fit for *you.* Think about making your own list like the one below. How would you finish the sentence "Therapy is_________"? Therapy is..... Therapy is not about having the right thoughts, showing up put together, or constant striving. Therapy is about what's messy. Therapy is venting, exploring complicated feelings, and finding the words. Therapy is about spending an hour in a brave space with someone who is witness you fully - the good, the bad, and the stuff in between. Therapy is laughing at how ridiculous humans can be, and having gentle humor with ourselves. Therapy is about letting swear words slip and showing up in pajama pants with Christmas trees on them in July. Therapy is about meeting ourselves exactly where we are.