WHY INVEST IN THERAPY?
You might not think of the word investment in connection to therapy, but to me therapy is all about investing. It is about investing in your happiness, in your emotional well-being, in connection with others, and investing in peace for yourself. Those things sound nice, but maybe they are a little too abstract? Well, if you are happy, peaceful and emotionally healthy, you will have better relationships with your family, friends and yourself. You are also more likely to feel healthy physically and get sick less often. You are also likely to be more successful at your job or at school or in your home life. Your brain is less likely to be filled with noise that is distracting and negative, and more likely to be filled with more pleasant things. You will be able to handle difficult situations better without falling apart. You will be better able to focus on and accomplish the things you want to rather than getting sidetracked by stress or sickness or fear or whatever else gets in your way.
Sound good? Therapy can be an investment in all of those things. We invest in retirement accounts and savings accounts and in real estate and the stock market to be financially secure. We invest in gym memberships and trainers and workout equipment and medical services to insure physical health. We even spend a great deal investing in hair color, makeup, stylish clothes, facials, manicures and pedicures to help us feel good about how we look. Too often we overlook the foundation to all of these things, which is our emotional and spiritual well-being. If we put some time and attention in our emotional and spiritual health, then our financial life, our physical life, and our self-esteem will all benefit.
Think about therapy as a workout for your mind. It is not all that different from lifting weights to build muscle. We don’t realize it, but we have been training our minds for a long time; we have been building the muscles of distraction, training in avoiding difficult emotions, in being hard on ourselves, and in building the muscles of negative thinking. I know that personally I spent many years training in how to daydream and be mentally somewhere else while looking like I was participating in the conversation or working or whatever else I was supposed to be doing. I got pretty good! I got so good that it just came automatically without even trying. How many years have you spent practicing being hard on yourself? How many years have you spent practicing an addiction? How many hours have you spent thinking about how stressful things are in your life and thinking that it will never get better?
Therapy is about retraining our mind and brain. Sometimes it involves training ourselves to stay present long enough to process old trauma and pain so that it can be properly stored. It almost always involves training ourselves to sit with unpleasant feelings rather than distracting with something else. It also almost always involves recognizing where we are stuck and how we stay trapped. With a trained therapist, we can slowly unravel the tangles of our minds so that we can have all of the benefits of being emotionally healthy. It is no different than seeking out a financial advisor to make sure we are financially healthy, or seeking out a trainer to ensure our physical health. With a little work, the pay-off for investing in our emotional and spiritual health is well worth the investment.