After perhaps thinking about it for some time, why do people begin therapy? Someone may have given them the name of a therapist they know and trust, but what motivates them to make the call, send the email, and/or make the first appointment? Here are 7 reasons why people make the decision to begin therapy.
1. They need help solving practical problems.
People come into therapy looking for a different perspective on problems. They are aware of only a limited number of choices, or only poor choices, and they need help with generating and making better choices.
2. They need a sympathetic witness.
Often people come into therapy looking for someone to listen well, to hear their pain and to take it seriously. They want to know that their pain matters to somebody. When that happens, they walk out feeling validated and affirmed — “Finally, somebody ‘gets’ me!”
3. They need to vent.
Sometimes people just need to get something off their chest! They want permission to express their anger and frustration in a safe place, where their pain will be held sympathetically, and they won’t be told, “You shouldn’t feel that way.”
4. They need help and encouragement to change.
Everybody comes into therapy wanting two things: to change, and to stay the same! For the most part, they like the way they are, but they’ve come to therapy because they have a sense that they do need to make some practical changes with respect to:
- How they think
- How they process and manage their feelings
- How they relate to others
5. They need help stopping cycles of conflict.
When couples or families come into therapy, it first helps them understand the cycles of conflict into which they’ve fallen, so that they can take a break from attacking, defending or withdrawing. They will learn how to de-escalate their repetitive cycles, and how to relax enough to begin listening to one another.
6. They need help creating and sustaining healthy emotional bonds.
Therapy helps couples and family members by validating each one’s pain, helping them to recognize each other’s pain and thus become sympathetic witnesses for one another. Teaching couples and families to “dance well together” fosters healthy emotional bonds, and leads to relational healing.
7. They need someone to help them grieve well.
Everybody suffers pain and loss as part of the human condition, but not everybody is equipped to understand and work well with the process of grieving. An important part of what therapy accomplishes is helping people practice “good grieving.”
Can you identify with one or more of these reasons? Is it time for you to talk with someone with training and experience, someone who will listen to your story and walk with you through a process of healing and growth? I invite you to contact me, and together let’s begin (or continue) the journey!
Dr. Jay R. Feld
Licensed Marriage and