This guest post from therapist, mom, and high school friend of mine, Alison Macur, is my happy weekend gift to you. Emphasis on the “happy”.
You don’t have to be crazy to go to therapy. In this day and age, the pressures to be perfect, the demands of life, and dealing with multiple relationships (parents, husband, kids), can all take their toll. Seeing a therapist can be that one place you can go to be yourself, not be judged, and gain support and feedback to help you feel more confident and self-assured.
5 Ways Therapy Can Help:
1) Empathy. There is probably no one in your life who can actually step into your shoes and try to understand how you feel. It is not because no one cares, it is just because the people that are in your life have their own concerns and emotions that prevent this. Having someone truly listen and understand your experience helps you feel acknowledged and valued.
2) Normalizing. Most of what you experience is normal. It is worrying about not being normal or comparing yourself to others that makes you feel bad. Having someone normalize your feelings is reassuring. Who wants to walk around feeling crazy or less-than?
3) Reframing. Frequently we have thoughts and feelings that are negative. We may over-generalize, personalize, or be accustomed to thinking with a negative tone, for example “I am never the one who can get the baby to stop crying” or “my husband must be in a bad mood because of something I did.” These thoughts are rarely accurate and can really weigh you down. Having someone help reframe these thoughts into more accurate and positive ones will lift your mood.
4) Exploring. We have all experienced things in the past that affect our current perspective. These experiences are brought with us into every interaction, thought, and feeling. If we don’t explore this, we repeat history. Perhaps your parents fought frequently, or your mom was too overwhelmed to nurture you properly. Exploring your past helps bring awareness to these experiences and thus allows you to make a choice about how you want to be.
5) New Coping Strategies. Now that your self-esteem is higher, your experiences are acknowledged and validated as normal, and you are aware of the things that are bringing you down, you are on the right path. Learning how to implement and practice positive thinking, improve communication skills to help you get what you want in an effective and assertive manner, and setting realistic goals that focus on your needs are part of the journey.
Now we try to do all these things for you here on RookieMoms.com, but we cannot be your therapists. We are untrained and don’t have a leather couch. If you want more of Alison, especially if you are an East Bay parent, see her website.