“How does that make you feel?” When the word therapy comes to mind, many people might picture a therapist leaning back in an armchair, asking this very same question. While therapists do want to explore your feelings, that isn’t the sole focus or purpose of a therapy session. So, what is the purpose?

Therapy, in a general context, allows for a safe space to ask questions and provides tools to cope with problems and live a healthier, happier life. While the idea of therapy is becoming more normalized in today’s society, there are still many common myths surrounding it.

First, it’s important to realize that therapy isn’t just for those struggling with their mental health. People see therapists for a multitude of reasons, such as for dealing with grief, loss, relationship problems, personal development, or problems at work. Therapy can be a helpful tool for anyone and seeing a therapist does not make you weak or less capable of coping, which is another harmful myth. If you broke your leg, you probably wouldn’t avoid going to the doctor because you fear looking weak, would you? So, it shouldn’t be the case when regarding your mental health, either.

Say you are interested in therapy, but are not sure what is out there? There are many different types of therapy, but two common forms of therapy are:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT: One of the most common forms of therapy, CBT usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns and subsequently, how those thinking patterns can affect your behavior. Some strategies could include facing one’s fears, instead of avoiding them, or learning problem-solving and coping skills.

Psychoanalytic or Psychotherapy: This approach mainly explores unconscious thoughts or feelings and the impact they have on both past or present. Therapists also focus on the patterns that people tend to create over time, by reviewing certain factors in that person’s life.

Therapists often won’t limit to one technique, but instead might combine or adjust them to fit the individual’s needs. It’s important to remember, though, that if you choose to partake in therapy, it’s your therapy session. While the therapist will probably suggest ideas or certain approaches to take, it’s ultimately up to you to set the groundwork. Open and honest communication is key and only do what you feel comfortable with.  

And lastly, therapy is not always for everyone. If you don’t feel safe with your therapist, initially, try to find a different one or even a different type of therapy. If it’s just not for you, that’s okay too! Everyone finds their own way to cope and you will find yours, but remember: never feel ashamed to see a therapist, if you want to!  

For more information about the different types of therapy, be sure to check out: https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types

Guest Blogger: Mollie Clupper, Public Ally

Mollie Clupper is working as a Public Ally AmeriCorps Apprentice for MHA. Using her own experiences, she wants to help bring awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, drinking coffee, and spending time with her fur-niece.