Beheld by some to be their own personal salvation, by others as the butt of a joke, and others, still, an agonizing hour of existential dread and hard truths fraught with difficulty. The internal reactions that happen when one thinks of therapy have as many variations as therapy itself does.
What seems to be the issue here is a similar pattern to our this-or-that fight-or-flight instinct in which our animal meat-brains always aim to achieve for survival. Even though we are capable of much more evolved ideas (not to mention that our lives are not in constant physical danger since we built society) we are innately prone to have an experience, feel something from it and make a predictive decision about every future encounter with anything that reminds us of that initial experience.
Get sick from a seafood buffet one time, and I doubt you will be caught dead in one ever again.
We, as humans, have a basic assessment of things that we are hard-wired to attempt boxing all cognitive experience within. That assessment is simply this: Good, or Bad?
Our first impressions count for a lot, as has been proven in studies that show how the first one seems to stick, but what of the following impressions? One bad therapist, or a family member that has beaten the therapy drum loud enough to cause you to legitimately need one, may be unpleasant, if not traumatizing but still is not enough reason to shut oneself off to the entire idea of healing.
That’s what therapy means. Healing.
The Oxford English Dictionary simply and elegantly defines therapy as “treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.” Now, ignoring your preconceptions, does that sound like something to avoid?
Therapy can be religion. It can be a conversation. It can be intimacy or a walk in the woods or a day at the shooting range. Therapy, as defined by Oxford, can literally be defined by you.
If it makes you feel better, gets you perspective and doesn’t hurt anybody, well that’s therapy. So the next time you need to go for a run for your mental health, or you have to take a bath for sanity’s sake, just let your loved ones know what is really going on. Most people are happy to afford you the time you need if you are willing to admit that you need it.
Let’s all meet halfway here. This is the future after all.