When we think of our health, it’s typical to think of it in terms of our physical well being. In the past and in some ways still, we’ve been reluctant to include our mental well being in that. Similarly, when we think of our health practitioners we probably tend to think of our primary care doctors. The narratives around what it means to be “healthy” used to focus on our cholesterol, our weight, which joints were creaky and sore, and if our blood pressure was within range. Not to say these aren’t important parts of our health, they’re just not the only parts. Thankfully, this narrative has begun to change. Breaking the stigma of therapy and mental health is gaining more and more attention and traction and there’s been a shift from whispering about “needing” to go therapy to casually dropping, “My therapist says…” in everyday conversation.
What’s behind this shift? Our mental well being is just as important and needs just as much care and attention as our physical well being. Our bodies are systems that are made up of both physical and mental parts. If we’re solely treating one, then we’re missing out on an entirely other and very critical aspect of our health. That’s why, we like to answer the question, “Who is therapy for?” by saying that “Therapy is for everyone.” We are aware, however, that not everyone has access to therapy in some capacity, so what we mean by that is that everyone can benefit from therapy. Just as exercise and nutritional foods help our physical fitness, therapy is a great practice for keeping our minds fit.
So, going to therapy keeps my mind “in shape?” Not exactly. It’s sort of like having a gym membership. You not only have to get yourself to the gym, you also have to get on the machines and challenge yourself. Going to therapy is one thing, but actively participating in therapy (i.e. making goals and being self-reflective) is what leads to progress. That’s why we said, everyone CAN benefit from therapy. If you get yourself to the gym but talk to your friends the whole time that you’re there and didn’t get your heart rate up, did you really go to the gym? The bottomline is, therapy is hard work.
Ok, so everyone can benefit from therapy if they’re willing to push themselves? What if I’m not ready? Therapy is meant to be this safe environment to allow for vulnerability, but as therapists, we don’t expect anyone to dive in right off the bat. Some people do and some people don’t. You go at your own pace and your therapist is there to meet you where you’re at. In the same way that you wouldn’t run a marathon having just started to workout, the therapy process takes time to get into.
Whether we’re going through a tough time, are having trouble taking the next step, are struggling in our relationships, or need an unbiased person to talk to, therapy is a great space to start. Unfortunately, time and money tends to be a barrier for everyone to access it. We hope that this blog, our social media, and our free online resources can provide a platform to enable more people to engage with their mental health, whether in therapy or not.
Catherine at Revive