August 18th, 2022

Who Should Go To Therapy?


If I was a bolder writer I would just end the post there. Everyone should go to therapy. Full stop. A therapist saying everyone should go to therapy is kind of obvious, Elon Musk would say everyone should get a Tesla, but I think there are valid reasons why people should go to therapy, and I think having a good idea on why you should go will help you have a better experience.

So, first, avid followers of the blog will already have noted this, I really don’t like the word *should*, but I did choose to use it intentionally. I think everyone should go to therapy at some point in their life. Why? Because I think therapy is good for people. Therapy is having a professional give you their undivided attention to help you live a better life. What’s not to like? It’s like I say people should exercise regularly, should get enough sleep, and should hydrate properly. Those are things that are statistically validated to be useful for most people with very few exceptions. I believe that is also true of therapy. Now, of course, there are some caveats. I don’t think people require therapy. I think it will benefit people at certain points of their life, to the point where the cost/benefit analysis would suggest that planning to attend therapy at some point in life is a good idea. That being said, people can navigate regular life transitions without going to therapy. A good support system, good life circumstances, just being stupid privileged and coasting through life can all be realistic reasons a person could navigate life’s difficulties without the help of a professional. But that’s the thing, life is hard. For nearly everyone, at multiple times over the course of a lifetime. Maybe you’re grooving then your spouse has an affair. Or you find your kid doing drugs. Or you lose your job. Or a global pandemic makes you question the sanity of the world at large. Or just normal existential dread. Having help makes hard things easier. It’s that simple.

So if therapy is so great, why am I writing this at all? Why doesn’t everyone just go? Well, a bunch of reasons that don’t inherently have to do with therapy itself. First, therapy unfortunately is not the most accessible thing for a lot of people. Maybe you live in a location where there aren’t a lot of good options, or most therapists are booked up, or your parents won’t let you go. And accessibility is a real problem. I would love to boast about having a great healthcare system that is easy for consumers to use and great for providers, but uh, we don’t have that. But understanding all those issues still leaves me approaching a cost/benefit analysis of therapy being worth it (especially in the parents not letting a kid go to therapy example). These are problems to work through, but they do have solutions, and the net gain of getting in to see a good therapist is worth it.

Now, I did say “good therapist” there. And that is the other big issue, at least in my opinion. A lot of people have tried therapy and haven’t gotten great results. Also a legit problem. Some therapists just aren’t very good at this, unfortunately. Some of them lack the skills, some of them didn’t get good training, some of them got into therapy to work through their own stuff, and some of them maybe were once good but haven’t kept up with getting better and/or taking care of themselves. So, while a lot of my clients are therapy newbies, I would say probably about half of my clients have tried therapy before and didn’t get much out of it. So, the cost/benefit analysis of therapy looks different if it isn’t a good experience. Again though, problems to work through, not necessarily a reason to not go to therapy or never try again. Finding a good fit is important, and totally worth it. What is the price point for being happier? Healthier? Saving your marriage? If you have someone who can help you reach your goals, the investment is an obvious win. 

I thought this would be a longer post. But it isn’t crazy complicated. Life is hard. Life is way, way harder at certain times than others. Therapy is trained professionals helping you sort through all that and be some better version of yourself. Awesome. Life’s hard, therapy helps.