Stacy G. Smith, MS, LPC
Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #29
Individual therapy can be one of the best gifts you give to yourself.
Keep in mind: the goal of therapy is to help you feel good, build on your strengths, and allow for improved self-awareness and growth. Therapy provides a confidential environment where you can discuss the most pressing concerns on your mind, without fear of being judged or criticized. You will work 1:1 with a professional to overcome challenges, learn how to handle difficult emotions, and gain valuable coping skills that will benefit you for years to come. For that hour, you are dedicating time to work solely on yourself, without the distractions of family, friends, or work.
Now, given all those benefits, why do some individuals hesitate to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment? especially when they know they could benefit from the support and guidance?
The first reason that comes to mind is self-stigma. One may pause and think, "Seeing a therapist must mean something is 'wrong' with me." "What if my therapist thinks I'm 'crazy'?" "Only people with severe problems go to therapy." "I'll only be wasting his/her time."
My response: The only truth about the above thoughts is that they stand in the way of helping many individuals feel better. Very frequently, individuals discover in therapy that they have similar, self-defeating thoughts that run through their minds on a daily basis, all of which have been contributing to their persistent anxiety, sadness, and frustrations.
Furthermore, individuals may feel they cannot afford therapy, or that they do not have time to commit to an appointment each week.
My response: Since therapy does not provide a material product or gain in exchange for payment, individuals often fail to see its immediate benefit. Many individuals may also think twice about spending money on themselves, when that money can go towards the house, or their kids; but remember, investing in therapy is not only an investment in yourself - it is an investment in your relationships, your future, and your outlook on life.
If finances are a concern, there are therapists who may accept your insurance, or offer a sliding-scale. Larger agencies can also offer reduced-fee rates as well. Finances should never be a barrier towards getting the help you want.
As far as time commitment, it can be helpful to think of therapy as exchanging an hour of television each week to become an hour closer towards becoming the best version of yourself. Some individuals use their lunch break once/week to ensure they have time, or schedule an appointment first thing in the morning, right before work.
One thing to note is that individuals often pursue therapy after years of struggling. Many individuals reach their "breaking point" before picking up the phone, after reminding themselves for months or years that they're "okay." While it's always possible to climb out of a struggle and feel better, it can certainly feel easier, and perhaps happen more quickly, when addressed in its earlier stages.
Difficulties, no matter how big or small, can be challenging for anyone. No one deserves to struggle alone - not even you!
If there's any message to take with you, it's:
No matter who you are, no matter what you've been through, and no matter how severe or mild you feel your struggle is, there is a therapist, right now, waiting for your call - waiting to help you feel, think, and behave in a manner you want, and deserve.
DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on www.StacySmithCounseling.com contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.