What can therapy do for me?

If you’re new to therapy, struggling with something more intensely than you have before, or trying to figure out if counselling is the right path for you to walk down… this post is for you!

Are you struggling with something right now but can’t seem to figure out how to “fix” it? Have you been struggling and think this thing might never be “fixed”? Or that you can’t be “fixed”?

I say “fixed” with quotations, because I don’t believe that “fix” is a concrete term… or one that is even relevant to human behaviour. Instead, I’d prefer to shift wording to “accept, alter, adapt or acknowledge”.

Perhaps your struggle is getting harder to fight because you are fighting alone and without the right tools.

The brain is the most complicated organ in our body. It controls every part of our system yet can be the hardest to regulate. Regulating our brain is so complex because of the way in which memory and learned responses have been developed.

A friend and fellow therapist gifted me an analogy recently, and I want to share it with you. I found it so helpful to understand why it can feel so hard to make changes on our own.

As humans we evolved more than other animals and because we have been able to evolve as a species, we have an engrained instinct that we can overcome any obstacle. If we think about something for long enough… we can change it. Humans have used their brains to make our external worlds easier for us to survive. We have created electricity, cars, the internet, ways to travel etc. We also relied on others and worked together to find creative solutions for problems. Another gift that evolution gave us: the instinct to work and be in packs.

We learned that we could change our external world and then we assumed we can do the same with internal world. But is it that easy?

Ask yourself this: How often have you thought about purple unicorns in the last month? What about now? I bet you’re thinking about them now… once something is brought into our internal world, it’s hard to ask it to leave.

What if I handed you a piece of paper and I told you that you need to get rid of it? What would you do? Throw it out… burn it, shred it, hide it? I’m sure you could come up with something creative. I’m also guessing it would be easier for you to get rid of the piece of paper, rather than never think about purple unicorns again.

We often tell ourselves we need to “think this, feel this, and don’t do this” … but it doesn’t work. A lot of us have become more anxious, sad, overwhelmed, helpless and defeated as a result.

Counselling can be a way to help you build the tools to change your internal world. Building your own “pack” to overcome a problem can start with finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with. Therapy can help you build creative solutions. And where there is no solution, it can help you feel less alone with your thoughts and normalize what you’re going through. There is no shame in asking for help… in fact it’s likely one of your biggest strengths.

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