Many people approach therapy with a good blend of skepticism and hopefulness. Some consider therapy because they are in emotional pain and want relief. Others are curious about what therapy can do for them, or want to explore some of their patterns or relational dynamics. No matter the reason you find yourself here, it is normal to wonder whether this path will be worth your time, money, and energy. In fact, one of the most popular questions therapists get asked is, “Does therapy really work?”
It’s a good question and deserves an authentic answer. As a professional therapist and believer in therapy, this is my honest response to why I believe therapy works, and why it can work for you:
First, relationships give our lives meaning. And, like anything that holds great meaning to us, relationships have the power to bring great healing and great pain. Perhaps some of your most painful and positive memories alike include a relationship of some type. The idea that secure relationships provide meaning, pain, and most importantly, contentment to our lives was foundational to the writings and research of many of psychology’s earliest contributors.
Secondly, our brains respond positively to human connection. When we are in emotional pain, our first response may be to isolate ourselves. By doing so, we are working against what is good and healthy for our neurological hardwiring. Instead of isolating, research tells us that stepping into a raw and honest relationship with another human being has shown to expedite emotional growth and healing.
Therapy socializes the experience of suffering. Often, emotional struggles are deemed private and personal, and to an extent, they are. However, therapy can give us a venue where such personal struggles can become shared in a way that complements our neurological hardwiring for relationship and human connection.
Finally, when this neurological need for relational connection is realized in a therapeutic relationship with someone who possesses psychological knowledge and expertise, real transformation can occur. When therapists and clients work together to tackle emotional pain, they are creating something new. They are creating a new way of facing struggle, a new way of changing beliefs, and most importantly, they are creating a new way of relating. We are social beings by nature, and when we tackle problems in a social environment, we are working within a framework that is compatible with who we genuinely are.
This is what causes change.
My therapeutic style is not about fixing people who are in emotional pain. It’s about offering insights and knowledge accompanied by a secure therapeutic relationship that has the potential to help people grow and experience transformation. And, ideally, you as a client will begin to see this transformation and growth in your relationships outside of therapy as you create a new understanding and way of experiencing life.