I’m Not A Mess – Can I Still Get Therapy?
I keep hearing this question from folks worried about whether or not they can seek therapy. So I’m going to dispel some of the myths about getting counseling.
All kinds of people benefit from therapy.
The spectrum of folks who could benefit from therapy is vast; it ranges from folks who at risk of losing their job or a loved one to folks who just want to process a strange event that happened but otherwise their lives are stable. All these folks deserve care, it’s just a matter of the scope of their treatment needs. Some folks see a huge benefit from 5-10 sessions, others see the best results from long-term therapy.
There is no “bad enough” threshold.
I can’t think of a single therapist who would hear your reasons for seeking therapy and say “Nope, not bad enough. Try again in a few months when you’re more distressed.” Yet this is a concern I’ve heard on multiple occasions from people who might seek therapy, that they are worried the therapist will be frustrated that their issue isn’t complicated or severe enough. Therapists know that calling to seek counseling is pretty hard to do. It’s nerve-wracking to say out loud what you’re concerned about, and to a stranger no less. A good therapist takes your call and your concerns seriously no matter where you are on the spectrum for treatment needs.
What might be really going on here is that you may not think you are worthy of treatment. You may have a tendency to place other’s needs before your own. As a child you may have been discouraged from crying or other emotional expression. You might experience feelings of guilt when thinking that you want or need therapy, because you’re so used to minimizing your own wants and needs. Or you may be avoiding seeking treatment to protect yourself from your needs being minimized and dismissed. A good therapist will observe that trend of minimizing and work with you on it.