Therapy. There, I said it. I’m new at this but I have to say, what a clever invention: I meet with an individual who asks me about myself and I share and reflect and think again. 60 minutes to think and talk about ME! Who knew this could feel so cathartic, soul-rinsing, confidence-boosting?
OK, maybe you knew and you probably even told me. But what took me so long to finally take the leap? What took me so long to decide that yes, I, too might benefit from the services of a trained therapist?
As someone who has dedicated literally years to developing and supporting others; to crafting learning environments that hopefully build efficacy and agency; to growing my capacity to listen with both an open heart and an open mind – it took me a ridiculously long time decide that with or without “issues”, I could indulge in the privilege of mental health care.
And there we have part of the rub. The perception of therapy as a kind of privilege. Of mental health care as something that others need rather than I. Writing has brought me into dialogue with widening circles of people from diverse backgrounds, with unique qualities and also struggles. Their openness has opened me. Their vulnerability has helped me share my own.
So let me say this: My impression is that we can all benefit from some type of therapy. It doesn’t have to involve digging up your whole childhood to discover why you keep doing that-thing-that-rationally-makes-no-sense-but-you-can’t-help-yourself-because-it’s-who-you-are-and-you’ve-always-done-it-that-way… (Seriously.)
For me, therapy means prioritizing my own care and development for a moment. It means laying down some of my armor and breathing a little more deeply. It means recognizing patterns and now connecting them to some deeper, less acknowledged needs. It means getting not only closer to who I am but also to who I might become.
So, shout out for therapy, therapists and taking care of our mental health!