I have shared this on other sites and had to add it to my blog.
Mainstream media and society have not done the field of psychology or the perception of therapy much justice. Many people are under the misconception that going to therapy or having a therapist means 'you are weak' or 'flawed' or 'crazy'. My perspective regarding mental health has been shaped through curiosity about the human mind and what really makes us behave the way we do. We are social beings and naturally, many fear judgment and being labeled and this can make a lot of people apprehensive about the therapeutic process without experiencing it for themselves. My philosophy and approach to therapy is based on ensuring that those who seek help understand that what some might perceive as weakness is actually strength. How many people are brave enough to face the most challenging aspects of their lives and work through them? Most people suffer in silence because of fear of judgment from family, friends or society. The process of change is challenging and can be uncomfortable because you are working on changing a situation, behavior or belief system that is both familiar and yet dissatisfying and causing distress. I believe that people who make the decision and actually begin therapy are stronger than they really think or know. While I understand the fear of being vulnerable with a stranger, it is important to refocus on what is most important to you at this time in your life. The therapeutic relationship is one of collaboration and genuine concern. What is important to you is important to your therapist. Sometimes it takes an outsider's perspective to help us see the bigger picture for what it is. Let's look at it this way: You may be so focused on the 'tree' without realizing that the 'tree' is blocking your view of the 'bigger picture', that is, the beauty of the forest. While family and friends can be a great asset when it comes to having a support system, it is often difficult for them to always give you the objective guidance that will change certain aspects of your life because of your close relationship. The therapeutic alliance is a different relationship dynamic in that the therapist works with you through listening and seeing your perspective fully without any bias due to past history. A genuine therapist is honest and does not promise to 'fix' you. Only YOU can fix you by doing the work in therapy. The difference is that you won't have to do this alone, but with the unconditional support of your therapist. That might sound cliche but many of those I've worked with have come to that realization. That begins with being honest with yourself and working on facing your challenges head-on with professional assistance. With the right guidance and work you put in, you will be surprised how you've had many of the answers you've been seeking but so much in life had blurred your vision. It takes patience, determination and consistency to start living a healthier and more stable life. We all need help from someone at some point in our lives. In the same way you would go to the doctor if you felt physically ill, you go to therapy to figure out what is preventing you from being emotionally healthy and at your best.