I am in therapy. I am soon starting couples therapy. I have been in therapy multiple times throughout my life. Why is this something that people have a hard time saying? I pursue therapy not because I am psychotic or because I am painfully depressed, but because I am alive! Life is difficult, it comes with sadness and heartache and stress and...well, pain. I want to be able to understand my way of being within those struggles. I yearn for a deeper understanding of myself and that is what therapy means to me.
Don't get me wrong, a lot of therapy clients do struggle with psychosis and debilitating depression, and that is a lot of what therapy is there for. I am by no means trying to belittle or downplay the significance of that. But, that doesn't have to be all that it is there for! For some reason, our society has this negative view of therapy and the people who pursue it. We (the people in therapy) are looked at as this helpless person who can't deal with life, so we go to someone else to walk us through it. I view us as strong people who are able to acknowledge the fact that life is hard and sometimes talking through it helps! Why do people who get labeled as strong when they are working out to better themselves physically but weak when they are trying to better themselves internally?!
And then there is couples therapy which has an even worse stereotype. Im going to state the blatantly obvious here, but relationships are hard, really hard!! In my mind, couples therapy should be the norm rather than the ultimatum presented when everything is falling apart. Very few couples actually pursue therapy until it is the one string they are left with to grip onto. So, what happens? Society thinks that is what couples therapy is there for, a way to hold on to the small piece that is left, or a cleaner way to let go. What does that leave the rest of us with? Those of us who pursue couples therapy as a way to help us get through the rocky parts and come out of them a little less banged up?
I understand that this is all a vicious cyclical experience. Couples who do pursue therapy before the relationship is hanging by a thread don't want to tell anyone for fear of being labeled as doomed. So, nobody knows that people do go to therapy before that point, so they think that is all that it is there for...and then nobody goes. You get the picture. Its the same thing for individual therapy, albeit to a lesser degree. But still, nobody wants to mention that they are in therapy for fear of being labeled "crazy"...so the stereotype that society holds remains there.
What is my point here? Im proposing that those of us who are in therapy as a way to better ourselves and deepen our self awareness, speak up! I am in therapy! Let it be known, it is a sign of strength and personal growth, not of weakness.