The Case for Therapy
This article was originally published on The Twenties Club on October 2nd, 2018.
I have some pretty special and profound conversations with readers in the safe confines of TTC’s Instagram inbox. It’s a daily occurrence that always seems to reaffirm why I decided to carve out this small corner on the Internet.
Recently, two seperate conversations raised the topic of therapy.
One reader said, “Finding a good therapist is like finding a good boyfriend.” Another reader admitted that, “Paying for a friend’s therapy session is my birthday present of choice these days!”.
My first encounter with therapy came in my early twenties; I experienced two extremely sudden deaths within a short period of time, and it ignited a level of anxiety that I was unable to work through alone. That’s all I’ll say (my lucky therapist has the real tea), but essentially I needed a sounding board. And as confronting as it was to admit that I needed the support of a professional during that season, it was also incredibly freeing to know that I had an unbiased, nonjudgemental, world-class listener, whose primary MO was to make me feel better. It’s a therapist’s job to care. To validate and legitimise your worst fears and inclinations, and then provide a solution to either work through it or provide you with the tools to coexist alongside it. And yet, there’s still a lot of shame around seeking professional help.
From where I’m sitting, therapy is proof that having flaws makes you part of the majority. That being complicated or a little broken makes you part of the majority – if it didn’t, then there wouldn’t be an entire industry of therapists, psychologists and counsellors. This is not a “niche” thing. In fact, having a shrink in the US is about as vital as a good hairdresser. You wouldn’t let a friend cut your bangs so don’t expect your neighbour to cure your PTSD. In places like LA and New York, your psychologist is in the same group of significance as a physio or GP, or that lady that paints your nails once a month when you can afford it. New York Magazine even has a weekly segment called “What Your Therapist Really Thinks”.
Visiting a therapist or a psychologist does not make you neurotic or self-absorbed or a deadline-driven perfectionist. You’re all those things anyway!!! It simply reminds you that you contain multitudes. That you are not one singular kind of person. You are simultaneously this way and the other. This is why it’s okay to have a big, beautiful life, a loving partner and a thriving career, and still have a tinge of sadness that needs addressing, anxiety that needs comforting, or fear that needs unpacking.
But I’m also aware that employing the help of a professional to address issues like body image, divorce, grief, anxiety or a broken relationship, is a luxury most cannot afford. It is a privilege reserved for those lucky enough to find the time and cash to spend sixty minutes talking about their “feelings”.
If you have been lucky enough to employ the services of a psychologist, therapist, or counsellor in your life, I implore you to share this article with someone. Break down people’s perception of what the right “candidate” looks like, and empower others to take stock of how they feel.
That’s what I’d call an “influencer”.