If you are reading this, it is probably because there is something happening in your life that you wish was going differently. Either that, or someone that loves you thinks you could use some support. I’m not sure what you’ve heard about therapy–who or what you believe it’s for. What I do know is that therapy often gets a bad rap! So let’s bust a few myths:
1. “Only crazy people need therapists” If I had a dollar for every time I heard this one I would be rich! In my opinion, there’s not a person on earth who could not benefit from seeing a therapist. Do you want someone to talk to about your goals, dreams and ambitions? Someone to help you explore what it would mean for you to live a more meaningful life? How about someone to help you change some things about your life that aren’t going the way you’d like them to? Are there behaviors, feelings or relationships that you feel are holding you back? The most common things I support young people with are: self esteem issues, confusion about the future, conflict with parents or other relatives, school problems, unhealthy peer or romantic relationships and confusion/fear around sexuality or ‘coming out’ to family. You only get one wild life, why not make it the most beautiful one you can imagine?
2. “Therapy is for weak people” Even the happiest, most self reliant people go through periods in their lives that push them past their ability to cope on their own. Admitting that you want or need help is one of the bravest things I can think of. If a little voice in your head (or someone you actually know) is telling you to just “get over it” or “snap out of it”, ask yourself this question: If your best friend told you they were struggling, unhappy or feeling stuck and wanted to see a therapist, would you tell them they were weak and to get over it on their own? I doubt it! What might you say instead? Whatever you might say to your best friend is what you should also say to yourself. You deserve just as much grace as the people you love.
3. “Talking about my problems won’t help” Sometimes, no matter how much the adults in our lives love us, it is hard for us to talk to them about what we’re going through because we are afraid to hurt, disappoint or upset them. As a teenager, how often do you get the opportunity to be the expert? In my office, you are the expert on your own experience, which means I won’t tell you what you think or feel is stupid, wrong or unrealistic. I like to think of a therapist’s office as the one place we can say LITERALLY anything that’s on our mind, without fear of judgment or consequences. I don’t know anyone you know, and I am legally bound to keep your secrets (minus a few exceptions like if you’re having thoughts about suicide or if someone is hurting you). How would your life be different if you had an unbiased outsider in your life that wanted to help you carry the heavy stuff? I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but there is a TON of research and evidence-based practices that are shown again and again to have positive outcomes for people and support them in improving their lives.
4. “If I start therapy, I will have to go forever!” ANY good therapist’s goal should be to help you get to a place where you feel confident you have the tools to handle whatever life throws at you and you no longer need outside support. There may be times in your life when stressors or old negative patterns of thinking, feeling or behaving are no longer working for you and you want to seek counseling again. This is super normal and totally okay! But the only person that gets to decide how long you are in therapy is you. I will consistently ask for your feedback, if what we are doing is working for you, if you are seeing improvements in your wellbeing and what you’d like to focus on next.
5. “Therapy looks like me laying on a couch and an old man sitting behind me asking me about my relationship with my mother…” Well.. sometimes! But I am personally neither old nor a man, so you don’t have to worry about that with me. Side note: we will only talk about your relationship with your mom if that’s something you’d like to work on. 😉 Sessions with me will be relaxed and open. In my office, we are equals–we are a team that is working together towards building you the best life you can imagine. Together with your other trusted people, like your parents, we will work through things that have had you stuck. We can sit in the office or go for walks, we can do creative projects, writing exercises or listen to music. We will do the hard work, I will ask you hard questions and it may be uncomfortable sometimes, but it will be okay because together we can do hard things. We will also have fun! We will laugh and crack jokes and not take ourselves too seriously. Because growing should always be at least as enjoyable as it is hard.
I hope this helped you get an idea of what therapy could do for you, who I am and how I could potentially be a supportive part of your life. I want you to know that I do not hold the secret to unlocking your happiness or potential–YOU do! My job isn’t to tell you how to be happy or how to build the most meaningful life you can imagine. My job is to ask you the right questions, push you to consider things you maybe haven’t thought about yet and hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself. The bottom line is that I believe that no one should ever have to feel like they are doing life alone. I can’t wait to meet you!