Friday, 15 November 2013

Nobody Mention Therapy

There are many social hang-ups over the word 'therapy' as it seems to insinuate that you have a problem that needs fixing. Physiotherapy is a therapy that works to improve physical disability, Radiotherapy is a therapy that aims to improve health through killing cancerous cells, and Aromatherapy is a therapy used to improve mood and stress levels. We falsely associate the word with negative connotations even though the results are often very positive.

As soon as you mention 'I'm in therapy' the reaction is always 'Oh dear, this girl must be crazy', which I don't think is accurate at all. And this makes you feel ashamed about seeking advice or talking to someone professionally. So we just don't talk about it. But isn't that the point of therapy? To be more open about yourself? From my personal experience, I was never 'fixed' but my mind was opened up and it's the best thing I've ever done.

I have signed up for therapy on two separate occasions now. The first was during my final University year when I was dealing with low self-confidence. I've never been overly confident but it suddenly became so low that it began to affect my health. I'd go days without eating properly because I didn't want to go outside. I had a theory into the reason why - a housemate went through a phase of treating me like I was invisible - but therapy actually revealed a lot of interesting factors that helped me to really understand and accept who I am, regardless of the people around me. This councillor was a very creative man, he recommended books written by Edward De Bono and I am adamant he helped me with my creative work as well as my social life. To this day I remember his advice whenever I question whether or not to go outside or to say my thoughts out loud. He also looked a bit like Santa Claus which is probably why I left each session craving pie.

The second, more recent, therapy sessions were recommended to me by my GP when I was having really frequent headaches. It turned out to be Sinusitis rather than stress but I'm glad I attended these sessions anyway. I witnessed somebody die horrifically for the first time just before my second session and I was pleased to have a professional to talk to. This therapist was very different to the first, she didn't say much at all throughout weeks 1-5 but supplied me with useful 'homework' tasks and gave me a huge review in my final session. This completely opened up my way of thinking. You naturally assume that you are reviewing your life situations in the only way you can, the right way, but when someone encourages you to really think about it, your entire thought process changes. You don't think what you think at all, you're doing what you assume is right rather than what is logical. You finally understand how and why you're stuck in a certain mind set and you feel like you've been set free. It helped that we had a common interest in Liam Neeson, and I spent most of session 5 acting out scenes from 'The Grey'. On reflection that's probably why she suggested in session 6 that I'd gained all I could from her expertise...

There are so many things that were holding me back that I didn't even realise, in both occasions, until my mind was shaken around a bit. I've realised that it's good practise to admit your flaws, perhaps not so publicly on here, but I want to recommend therapy to absolutely everyone. It's useful, fascinating and extremely rewarding. More importantly - it doesn't mean that you have a problem, it just means you are open to exploring what makes you who you are. And I think that's a great thing.

I believe that self-evaluation is the most powerful skill you can acquire. And I'm happy to say that I'm sure I will seek another therapist in the future :)

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