Sunday, November 23, 2008


Some people have asked me lately my spiritual opinion of people going to therapy. So, here it is.

I haven't been to therapy since college when I had to go for my degree - quite frankly - I enjoyed it! I was a little intimidated by the process at first, but seriously it can be the best conversation you've ever had! I didn't really mind it at all and it gave me some clarification of some things so no biggie. Would I go again now like on my own accord? If I felt like I needed it - yes, for sure.

I don't really think therapy is a spiritual decision necessarily. If you're going through something that you feel like you could benefit from talking to a non biased party - do it. Sometimes we just need someone to help us put our thoughts in order.

I assume people have been asking me because they have considered going recently, so assuming that let me say the following.

Don't bother scheduling an appointment with a Psychiatrist unless you want to start with the medication route. They don't generally do talk therapy so you'll be wasting your time and up to $200 an appt.

Don't assume your pastor is a therapist. I'm all for spiritual guidence, but pastors are not necessarily trained to help you sort through your thoughts and emotions. Spirtiual guidence, prayer support, biblical questions - go for it, depression and other issues - no. (just my opinion!). We have a pastor who works at the hospital with a masters in counseling - genious combination, but hard to come by.

Don't necessarily settle for the 1st counselor/therapist you go to. Therapy is like finding a great pair of shoes - you'll know when you've found it, and you know when you missed it totally. You should feel comfortable and able to have a productive dialoge. If after a few sessions you don't feel like it's "working" for lack of a better word, don't be afraid to tell him/her that you may need someone else. Chances are they feel the same way.

Don't think it's going to be like the movies. No one is going to make you lay on a couch or cry your eyes out or be hysterical. Most people report a very professional experience with a great conversation and some goals to work on in regard to the situation.

Another word to the wise - don't assume your husband/wife or best friend are your best options. Women especailly grow up thinking they will get married to the man of their dreams who they can talk to about anything, he will listen patiently and then have all the answers. That's not fair to him and most married women report this particular scenerio leaves them feeling unheard and alone. Even if you are married to a great man who will listen to you ramble on, he may not have the answers you are looking for which can lead to resentment, etc.

However, for general day to day life stressors - if you have an attentive spouse or a best friend that you can discuss anything with, if you have someone in your life that when something bad happens you start dialing without a thought to what time it is - you have found therapy in it's purest form and for that you should be thankful. Having someone listen attentitively to your concerns who also has your best interest and well being at heart is a GIFT. Cherish it.

Working in the counseling profession myself I will say on this point I agree with Freud who said, "We don't really cure anyone - we just stand by and cheer while they cure themselves." Therapy is a valuable tool and if you need it - get it :)

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