You can try to do it alone. You may have already tried reading self-help books, writing, talking to various people, or figuring things out on your own. They are in fact good tools to use at times, or in conjunction with therapy. However, it may not be enough for what you are going through.
Therapy makes greater impact on improving your situation for many reasons. Therapy allows you to express yourself to another human being who responds with acceptance, empathy, support and insight. This therapeutic relationship is key to bringing about change and symptom reduction.
Reading self-help books does not make as much of an impact on your brain circuits as the interaction you have in a relationship. Reading is passive. Therapy is dynamic. The very act of interacting allows one to talk, receive a response, and express further, taking the person deeper into self-revelations and understanding of one’s situation.
The dynamic relationship between client and therapist has some similarities to the development of bonding between infants and their caregivers. When infants express themselves and are responded to appropriately, they continue to express. Trust and a sense of well-being develop. When there is no response, or an inappropriate response is given, infants lack trust and are unable to connect.
Writing about your problems is also a great tool, but if the problem is too great or too complicated it may not be enough. Trying to figure things out on your own can make you feel more isolated and you can end up going in circles. The process of expressing yourself freely allows you to see things more clearly as well as take control of your issues.
Even trying to talk to other people can be a problem. You may feel like you are burdening those you love. You may also feel awkward about talking about a problem for too long. You may get different responses, and the responses given can be biased. You may not feel you were really heard. Conversations can feel hurried, quick, and superficial. Inappropriate responses you receive from others can at times be more harmful than helpful.
Kim says: I had a client who came to see me because he needed to work on the hurt he was feeling from being mistreated, but at the same time, he felt I was also helping his wife because it freed her from having to hear it all the time. She was then better able to be a support to him and be there for him when he needed it the most.
Therapy is a time just for you. It is a time to slow down the pace. You won’t be judged and you can talk about the issue as long as it is relevant to you. And your information is confidential. Without your permission to share your information, what you talk about cannot be discussed with anyone else. It is a safe and supportive environment in which you can be who you are and honestly talk about your issues.
Besides the ability to express yourself, in therapy you will be given information, recommendations, and techniques that can be used to better manage your emotion and behavior. You can ask questions and discuss the techniques that would work best for you.