Common Inner Dialogue About Psychotherapy
This blog post explores the common inner voices that can occur prior to making an appointment to meet with a psychotherapist or during the ongoing work with your therapist.
Knowing that these voices can be quite loud is a great step towards making sure you don’t get derailed in your inner work.
Here is a brief list of what you might say out loud or simply hear in your head at any point along the therapy journey:
Am I a loser for needing to see a therapist?
How about all of those starving people in Africa… my problems are nothing compared to starvation.
This is clearly a first world problem I am speaking to you about. I feel narcissistic and self involved.
These are just three examples of the many discouraging thoughts that can arise regarding psychotherapy.
Here I will address these three thoughts one by one.
Are you a loser for needing to see a therapist? NO! In fact people with a fair amount of internal “sobriety” have the sense that they need help and know how to get it and when to get it. This is called maturity.
We run to the dentist to take care of our teeth, run to the mechanic to take care of our car and run to the gym to take care of our bodies. What about the soul, spirit, mind and emotions? Don’t those deserve care as well? In fact what most people are unaware of is that it is the messy inner closets and emotional pain in our lives that cause a lot of our health problems.
In my opinion, not only are you not a loser (“a fuck up” is another variant of this notion) for seeking out a therapist; rather you are a mature, responsible person who is nurturing your life. If you nurture your life, life will nurture you.
Another difficult thought is that there are those starving in…(name your place), and therefore my problems are nothing in comparison. What this line of thinking means is that if a person is starving in Africa or elsewhere, you ought to stuff your pain so they won’t be starving. Does this make any sense? This kind of thought creates feelings of guilt and shame around needing love and assistance to sort out whatever the pain or difficulty is. It already takes tremendous courage to do the work of inner change. Watch out for this thought.
Finally, a very common theme is that my problems are first world and therefore I’m narcissistic and self-involved to even mention them. Again, this is a shame and guilt inducing thought that will stand in the way of ever getting the support you need. In my opinion, you are here in North America for a reason. Never has there been a time in history where internal baggage can truly be unpacked. When you lighten your own load you lighten the world’s load.
In this blog I have given you some of my own opinions and I encourage you to explore whether there is any truth here for you.
The next time you hear one of these thought in your mind or one of it’s variants… pause… and ask yourself is this thought even worth paying attention to or is it just there to derail moving forward into greater contentment and possibility?