Do any of these thoughts prevent you from seeking therapy?
Many people come to therapy with preconceived notions about what therapy is and some of those notions are inaccurate. Some people think that they must come to therapy to get advice about all the things they should be doing or to get the answers to all life’s questions. Some people believe that therapy is to cry or tell all your business.
Therapy is to help you to explore the challenges that you face and the things that will be most helpful for your circumstances.
Essentially, therapy helps individuals to get to the root of their challenges when they might be hidden by surface level issues. It also helps people to remove the band aid from the puncture wound, clean it out, and stitch it up so that it can properly heal, then provides a helmet and knee pads so that next time the injuries won’t be so bad.
Here are some common challenges that average people face that can indicate that therapy might be beneficial for you:
You struggle with communicating your needs.
If you have trouble with speaking up for yourself in personal or professional settings, therapy can help you learn how to communicate your needs. Things such as letting your boss know when you feel overly stressed or letting your husband know that you need help with the kids might be indicators that you struggle communicating what you need.
You are angry all the time.
If small daily things have the potential to push you over the edge, it often means that you’re overwhelmed and easily angered as a result. When things in life have brought you to a boiling point and you are not sure what to do, therapy can give you tools to cope with life’s stressors.
You struggle with understanding others.
If you find yourself questioning your child’s decisions or behaviors that you don’t approve of, or you struggle to understand why your girlfriend is in a bad mood all the time, there may be something preventing you from being able to understand what is happening. Therapy can help you learn to connect and understand others better.
You don’t know what your purpose is.
If you are in a place of limbo and you have no idea if you are on the right path, you might be searching for your purpose. Having a non-judgmental 3rd party can help you discover what you want and how to obtain it.
You struggle in social situations.
If you struggle with resolving conflict, have trouble making/keeping friends, or if you have a fear of being around several people at once, you are not alone. Therapy is a great way to safely explore how to better manage those challenges.
These are just a few reasons to consider trying therapy. You can collaborate with your therapist to set goals for your life and explore what ways will be the most helpful for you to meet your goals. It can be liberating to go to therapy to become a better version of yourself defined by their own criteria.
This quote is one you’ve likely heard before; however, many are confused whether to follow or believe this advice. Often times, we associate the word “fake” with being inauthentic, and when we think of inauthenticity, we run the other direction thus staying stuck in the beliefs and actions that we are trying to change.
But what if “faking it” meant something completely different? What if it meant “acting as though” or “acting as if”. You see, many times throughout the day we already act as if. For example, when we drive to work, we act as if we are going to make it there. We are thinking about the day, playing through situations, prepping our minds for the daily tasks. We act as if we are going to the gym by prepping a bag of gym clothes and mentally preparing in our head to go over lunch break. When you act as if you are going to make it to work, you are believing that it is going to happen. When you act as if you are a fit or in shape person, you are believing that you are and more likely to then have the behaviors of someone who is fit or in shape.
In the therapy world, it’s important to note two topics in relation to this phrase:
Clinically, I would agree with the concepts of both but combine them to become one theory.
From the Law of Attraction, I believe it is true that we start seeing what we look for. If my thoughts about myself are completely negative, then the likelihood of seeing positive things about myself or accepting a compliment gracefully is slim.
However, if you are seeking positive things about yourself, then you will begin to see more things about yourself that are positive. With my clients and within myself, I have seen the rewards of looking for the good from a gratitude perspective and how that changes our thoughts in general and brain patterns. If it were really true that we could simply think positively and then experience something positive, then my job would be replaced by self-experts. It may be a part of the solution, but I don’t believe it’s all of it.
Imagine combining Law of Attraction with Acting As If.
In order to follow James’ philosophy, ask yourself “What would this type of person be doing?” In sticking with the confident example, what would a confident person be doing or thinking or saying? Likely, a confident person would say “Thank you” after being complimented or trust instincts to make decisions.
If you call yourself “fat” or “lazy”, how is that helping you become in shape or healthy? You’re likely unmotivated and depressed and not doing any actions that help you become this type of person. However, if you ask yourself, “What do healthy people do?” and answer “Some type of movement like walk during lunch” and “Limit fast food”, then the moment you do either of those behaviors you have then shown your brain that you are a “healthy person”. Then, your thoughts become more aligned and helpful which increases your likelihood of having behaviors that help you live according to your values.
Act as if you already are and you will think like you’ve already become.
This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked and it’s a great question so many people struggle with themselves or regarding a loved one. Whether we realize it or not, every single day we are flooded with hundreds of messages through social media, TV, radio, billboards, friends, family, (the list goes on) about what is “healthy” to eat and not to eat, how much exercise we should be doing, what supplements we should take, what makeup will make us look 20 years younger or fresh from the beach….It’s completely overwhelming and exhausting!
The way that our society as a whole view's nutrition, exercise, and (lack of) self-acceptance, fuels and almost supports disordered eating. How do we know when our focus to be “healthy” becomes an obsession? When is being “healthy” actually destructive? The term ‘Orthorexia’ is a term (not an official diagnosis) to describe a condition where someone becomes so obsessed with healthy eating that it can affect their well-being. Orthorexia can lead to an eating disorder and should not be taken lightly or ignored.
A few things to ask yourself or your loved one if you’re worried things are getting out of control:
If you answered yes to any of these questions you are not alone.
If you’re ready to take a turn in living a more balanced and healthful life, check out the body positive movement and Health At Every Size (HAES) on Instagram and Facebook as well as NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) for resources, tools, and support.