Seeing A Therapist For Personal Growth, Not Just Crisis Management
Most people put off seeing a therapist until something big goes wrong. And as a psychotherapist, there are times when it would have been much better to see the client earlier, before things reached crisis mode. But in my regular life, I readily admit to falling prey to the same type of thinking – I put off seeing the doctor (or chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist) until something hurts badly enough.
We know that making that appointment is going to cost money, and despite our rhetoric about it taking a village to raise a child, most of us don’t practice that. Instead, we hold fast to our heritage of pulling up our bootstraps and managing our own lives without outside intervention. Most of us take pride in this, as if seeing a therapist is somehow an admission of weakness or failure.
Most people start seeing a therapist to get help in navigating a current crisis. But there are those who have come to realize the importance of personal growth for its own sake; people who value self awareness and the multiple ways it enriches every aspect of their lives. I honor both motivations.
On a neurological level we are hard-wired for patterns. Our ancestors learned the hard way that the difference between following the established pattern or not can mean the difference between life and death. And this is one lesson our survival systems simply refuse to forget. Our brains are habit forming, pattern following machines. Think I’m wrong? Trying doing as many things with your opposite hand as possible over the next 3 days. Chances are you will (a) forget, or (b) find it too awkward to continue.
Ok, I don’t really think putting off seeing a therapist is “living dangerously.” But sort of. Without intermittent wake up calls, we run the risk of sleep walking through our lives in habitual patterns. Seeing a therapist who shines a curious light on the familiar can make the difference between living a life that feels stuck and one that feels creative, impassioned, and full of purpose. Then again, as a psychotherapist in private practice, I suppose I’m a little biased.
Americana singer songwriter Jeremy Dion puts as much energy into his guitar playing as he does his songwriting. Dion is an Americana Singer Songwriter Psychotherapist.
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