Journey To Healing: How Therapy Can Change Your Life For The Better

19 Sep ‘22
6 min
Arianna Freni
Reviewed by psychologist Soesja Vogels
journey therapy
I read a quote once that said: “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

 

The power of unlearning patterns relies on our ability to change. And, as human beings, we are hardwired to continuously transform and heal ourselves. Therapy is a powerful tool to overcome the uncertainty that change brings and guide us through a journey of awareness that can truly change our lives. 

 

Therapy is for everyone

 

If you have been thinking about starting therapy, hearing someone praising their psychological journey probably makes you wonder if you could experience the same. Can therapy work for you? Can it really change your life for the better? And do you even need therapy?

 

We can’t help but nod. So many people believe that you only need therapy when life is hard or when you are experiencing huge issues. That’s simply not true.

 

…and for every moment! 

 

Therapy is for all times in your life and should be regarded in a similar way to approaching your physical health. Just like going to the gym benefits your body, the same should go for therapy to keep your mind in shape.

 

“Therapy can also be preventive”, explains psychologist Soesja Vogels.  “If you feel like you are not doing great – but overall it is still okay –  that is the exact moment to start therapy. If you wait until you are doing not well, you are far later in the process and it will be more difficult to (un)learn (un)healthy habits. Just like fixing the tiny scratch on your windshield, instead of waiting for the whole windshield to crack down.”

 

✨ You might like: Why Therapy Is Always a Good Idea, Even When You’re Happy

How do you find a good therapist?

To really experience the positive benefits of therapy, it’s important to choose the right therapist.  Studies show that 80% of therapy success is related to matching with your psychologist, so finding someone who feels like a good fit for you is essential. 

 

How can you tell? Our first tip is to trust your gutGenerally, a few sessions are enough to determine if a therapist is a good match for you. If you like your therapist as a person, if you feel comfortable taking and you feel ‘heard’, these are all great starting points.

 

In addition, experience matters! Look for a therapist who is licensed and experienced in what you feel might be your personal situation. Often, therapists have specific areas of focus, such as anxiety or relationship issues. Take some time to explore your mutual connection and don’t be afraid to ask questions when looking for the exact bond that you expect.

Feel your way through it

 

While talking about personal issues with friends and family is important, you might still not feel totally comfortable saying some things. Therapy is a whole different story: speaking with a professional will provide you with extra support from an outside perspective and you won’t have to mask your actual emotions or steer clear of particular subjects. 

 

Therapists are highly trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, gain insight into how you process emotions, overcome personal challenges, and make positive changes in your life. They offer a non-judgemental opinion on a subject that you might be having difficulty resolving or guide you to a new viewpoint or solution that you may have never considered before.

 

Simply opening up about your thoughts and feelings can often lead to more adaptive thinking and behaviour and ultimately make you feel better. It can be very healing to speak out about your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. Not to mention the heartwarming feeling of being listened to!

 

Opening up is a journey, too

 

Therapy can be beneficial in a variety of ways. It can be a great ally in your personal growth and healing journey and can guide you towards making those changes in your life that you’ve always wished to make. That said, therapy is also hard work and requires a great deal of courage. Talking about painful memories or frustrations will not always feel pleasant. This is totally natural and you will be guided through this process by your therapist.

 

Again, the same way you work out with a personal trainer at a gym, therapy is a collaboration. Once you’re in a session, team effort plays a big role. Be your truest self and attempt to let go of any expectations or preconceived notions about how things should go.

 

“We often see vulnerability as something weak, while being vulnerable requires strength”, says Soesja. “It will be the first step in losing control, which might be scary, but it is the right way to let go and actually free yourself.”

 

And results-wise? How much therapy can truly help you relies on a variety of things, including how much you explore your inner self and put what you learn into practice. You can gain a lot from therapy – whether it’s a space to help you understand your emotions better, create coping mechanisms, build self-awareness, or just take better care of your feelings without judgement. 

 

✨ Also interesting: Online Therapy – How Can Talking With an Online Psychologist Improve Your Mental Health?

 

Making the most out of therapy

 

We know that switching from theory to practice is not always easy. Actually, most of the time, it is hard to apply what you learn during therapy to real life. To make the most of your journey and keep moving forward in your healing process, it is crucial to commit to your treatment.

 

Evaluate your progress regularly: try not to miss sessions and be honest about how you feel. You will get the full benefit out of your sessions if you are open with your therapist, also and especially about what makes you feel embarrassed or ashamed. Both of you together will contribute to the healing process. There is no expectation that you do everything alone, but neither can your therapist do it for you. They will be a guide, but ultimately, it is you making the real difference.

 

Growth is undoubtedly challenging and takes time. It won’t happen overnight for you to change or get better. However, you should see improvements in your life. You might notice a positive change in your mood, a stronger sense of connection in your relationship, or a thought that has been hanging heavily on your chest for a while is now starting to feel more manageable. Ask yourself whether and how your life is improving in various areas, whether you feel more empowered and confident, and whether you have a better understanding of yourself.

 

Be the change

 

If reading this article made a bell ring for you, then our advice is to give therapy a chance. Don’t wait. Be the change you want to see in your life.  There’s no right time to do it, there is no preparation you need beforehand and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  

 

“One of the things I hear many of my clients say is ‘you probably think I am crazy’ or ‘this must sound very weird’, while I only think ‘this is very normal’ ”, concluded Soesja. “People are not aware that anxious/depressive thoughts are very normal and many others are experiencing the same.”

 

A note to keep in mind: there is no fast track to healing. It is a process that is not always smooth and straightforward. Our experiences affect each of us differently, and, sometimes, we need support in figuring out how we really feel. Therapy gives you tools to get in contact with what is most important to you, explore the roots of your thoughts and learn how to handle them. Sometimes, taking a step back is the key to regaining your balance.