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.