The Guilty Get No Sleep
The Fear is Here

One Really Good Reason Everyone Could Use a Therapist

I'm a big advocate of psychotherapy. Most people, I think, could benefit from at least one short stint sitting across from a professional listener and talking about how they feel. There are lots of reasons why I believe this. The biggest reason, apart from my own positive experience*, is this: your shrink is on your side.

It is helpful, sometimes extremely, to talk to your best friend about what is bothering you. It is fundamental that you talk to your spouse about such things. And only your mother or father can bring that certain perspective in times of distress. But each of these people, no matter how well meaning, has a history with you. They, whether they even know it or not, have ulterior motives. That is not to say those motives are harmful or unproductive or necessarily negative, but because you have a relationship with these people that is based on all sorts of factors and emotions and months or years of experiences, how they react may not always be what you need.

Sucessful Psychotherapy

One really, really good reason to talk to a therapist is because he has no agenda except to see to it that you are well. He is on your team, and your team alone. He has fresh perspective and no ties to you outside that 50 minute window, and he'll tell you exactly how it is, unshaded by anything peripheral.

He is your number one cheerleader. He will call you on your excuses. He will validate you when you rightly feel fucked over, and he will kindly inform you that what you are feeling isn't crazy, it's incredibly normal. Or maybe he will tell you you're crazy, but he won't use those words, and even better, he'll let you know that your crazy is fixable.

If you are thinking of seeing a therapist, I can't recommend enough that you do. Every damn body can use unbiased support uncolored by bullshit.

*I do not exaggerate when I say a DJ therapist saved my life.

Comments

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The Good: After decades of denigrating therapy even though I'd never tried it, I finally felt the need. I was succumbing to crying jags for no reason, exhibiting clear (if mild) symptoms of PTSD. On my second visit, I described some things my dad did when I was young. The therapist said, "Sounds like he was a sadistic asshole." And at about age 40 I was, just like that, magically given permission to pierce my dad's fog of bullshit and see him for what he was. I haven't been to therapy since, because that one revelation got me past the problem.

The Bad: Against all advice, I went to work for a close friend. He became paranoid and began ordering us in engineering not to talk to marketing or the CEO. In a small startup. A pattern set in: he behaved badly and in a paranoid and micro-managing manner, the CEO took him to task privately, he agreed to a meeting to apologize and resolve the issues. And at every such meeting he balked and did a 180 from what he had promised the CEO.

I finally figured out that he always scheduled these mea culpa meetings on Thursday afternoons. Right after his Thursday morning therapy session. His therapist did nothing but tell him that he was right and everyone else was wrong, empower him to be a paranoid road-blocking jerk. By the end, the engineers would lock their doors and refuse to open them when he came to their office, even though he could see them inside. Bad therapist! No biscuit!

If you can find a good therapist, it is absolutely worth it. But that finding a good therapist part is the trick. So many very very damaged people who have spent years and years in therapy elect to become therapists themselves. I've known several flat-out batshit crazy folks who have become therapists, and just the thought of them doling out advice gives me the willies.

I'm not suggesting avoiding therapy. But I do suggest trying to get a word of mouth recommendation. That's what I did, and it worked out superbly.

y/y. late adopter, firm believer.

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