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  • elainesbelson

Everyone Needs Psychotherapy

Updated: Apr 11

It truly pains me to watch you everyday make self-defeating decisions, knowing how avoidable they are. What if I told you that you don’t need to worry ever again, that you have the instincts to make good decisions, that arguing is avoidable, that no matter how alone, inadequate or misunderstood you feel, you’re not? You’re a lot more complicated than you give yourself credit for. If you weren’t, you would have solved your problems by now!

As a psychotherapist, I’m used to the skepticism, even ridicule, of mental health. In fact, no one understands your reluctance more than I. But when you ignore your mental health, you’re rejecting yourself. You’re wandering through life, avoiding the essence of who you are. Do you have any idea how self-destructive this is – not just for you individually but for society?

Mental health is as vital to our existence as physical health but we live in a society that places greater value on one over the other and dismisses its relevance. We don’t equate the word “medical” with “disorder.” We don’t shame people for seeking medical care. We don’t expect people to treat their physical illnesses without medical intervention. We don’t assume we know as much as physicians.

It’s ironic people think going to therapy means you’re “weak,” mentally ill, or “crazy” – as though not going to therapy means you’re emotionally strong and psychologically fit. In reality, most people go through life driven by feelings they’re not even aware of. Many treat feelings, particularly uncomfortable ones, as something to avoid or talk yourself out of.

We have feelings for the same reason we experience pain and hunger. They are a survival mechanism – information of a need or threat we're overlooking. When you ignore a feeling, you’re ignoring a need – leaving you perpetually dissatisfied, regretful, resentful, conflicted, and more.

Furthermore, you have multiple feelings at the same time because you have multiple needs at the same time. In order to make good decisions, you must be mindful of all your feelings and identify where they’re coming from. Then you need to do what’s in your control. This requires a repertoire of coping skills.

That’s where psychotherapy comes in. Despite what you think you know, a therapist’s job is not to give advice. There are already plenty of people in your life doing that. It’s not to judge or criticize. You’re already doing that to yourself. And it’s not to fix your problems. Nobody can do that for you.

Psychotherapy is a journey of empowerment. I like to think of myself as a trail guide, leading you through the peaks and valleys of your past, present and future to reach your full potential. Along the way we take time to understand you, and teach you how to be understanding of yourself and access your innate abilities.

You don’t have a crystal ball, but you can have a toolbox full of coping skills to take with you wherever you go. You can’t anticipate every outcome or control every variable, but you can arm yourself with insight, problem-solving and coping skills to overcome challenges. This is how you achieve a sense of control over your world and make good decisions.

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