Some people are a little put off by psychotherapy, and so approach it with caution, while others are too scared to go for therapy at all, even though they know they need it. There’s still a lot of stigma attached to mental health issues, but therapy need not be such a scary thing. As the self-development guru, Wayne Dyer, once famously said, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
When you have a physical complaint, say an ache or a pain, or if something feels a bit ‘funny’ you have no qualms about visiting the doctor. You have no problem seeking professional advice, or in taking medication for a particular ailment, do you?
Wait. What’s that you say? You do have qualms? You don’t like the doctors? Okay, bad analogy for you.
What about the gym then, or exercise, or healthy eating? People are always talking about their weight and physical fitness and how to be a bit a little better when it comes to both. People go on diets and undertake regular exercise regimes; they buy Fitbits and join gyms and might even hire experts (such as nutritionists and personal trainers).
The point I’m trying to make here is that people are pretty clued up when it comes to their physical health and there’s no stigma attached to seeking help and advice for it. No one thinks it’s ‘weird’ if you do hire a personal trainer.
And yet your mind is as complicated as your body and it’s the former that’s really in control of the latter.
What’s that you say? You don’t like doctors, or personal trainers, or physical exertion, and gyms make you nervous?
Okay, bad, bad analogy. Silly analogy. Forget the analogy.
Do you have a car?
Cars are complicated. Just think of everything you need to do to keep your car in tip-top, optimal condition. First of all there’s the regular weekly checks that you, personally, need to undertake: checking the oil, the water, the tyre pressure and so on.
Then there are the regular visits to the garage for a service. Different services for different things at different times in your car’s life – an oil change here, a wheel balancing there, and so on.
And then, once a year, there’s the big one, the MOT, there to make sure your car is A: roadworthy, B: legal and C: isn’t going to kill you any time soon.
Running a car is expensive at times and unnerving at times, but again, there is no stigma attached to doing it.
But, when it comes to therapy, people get scared.
So people sadly skip their weekly checks, forget all about the regular services, have scraped through several MOTs (some by the skin of their teeth) but, now, their Big End has gone and the car’s going to need some time off the road and some extensive work undertaken by experts.
The point is . . . people don’t worry about maintaining or fixing their cars (a complicated machine), or maintaining of fixing their bodies (an even more complicated machine), but they do fear maintaining or fixing their minds (the most complicated machine there is).
And just think what your mind has to deal with every day, every week, every month, every year of your life.
When was the last time your mind had an MOT or an oil change? When was the last time you ran it through a few toning exercises or put it on a treadmill?
So, if it helps, think of your therapist not as some dark detective probing the more shadowy recesses of your psyche, but more as a healthy, happy personal trainer for your brain and all its thoughts, or as a mind mechanic with a handy toolkit in tow. Not so scary now, is it?
Well, I do know a good therapist that can help you with that.