Do You Need Therapy
Often times people come to therapy knowing exactly what the issues are but not really wanting to talk about them. They will hint at those issues, tip toe around to see if it’s safe to bring them up. If the therapist gets the hint and probes deeper, they may shut down, back away, deny and often get frustrated with the therapist.
So, why come to therapy in the first place?
Because therapists are supposed to hear the unfold the story that’s not being told.
The “I don’t want to talk about it” issues you need to talk about:
1. Addictions (alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, overspending, sex)
2. Social anxiety & Introversion
3. Unrecognized grief
4. Money problems
5. Sexual problems
7. Depression (mostly in men)
8. Love (or lack there of)
If you can relate to any of this, you probably have learned that talking about these issues is not safe. Safety is one of the most important basic human needs we have. I’m not just talking about physical safety. We need emotional safety to thrive. Many people are unsafe for us, often this includes loved ones, parents, partners, etc.
It’s hard to go to your loved ones, sometime due to shame. When you know you are loved and accepted you can get yourself to open up about intimate things. Safety means you will not be rejected, shunned, criticized and punished for who you are. The need for safety is a powerful driving force. So pay attention to it. Get better at identifying unsafe people or unsafe topics to discuss with particular people.
The only thing worse than not talking about it, is talking about it with an unsafe person.
“OK, but even if I find a safe person to talk to about my issues, does that mean I will feel better?”
Good question. I believe real change often can not happen without the talking part. Talking is essential for changing bad habits or addictions, especially in the early stages of change which are filled with ambivalence (conflict between the desire to continue behavior/drug and the desire to stop).
Talking is also very beneficial for processing certain emotions such as sadness. It can significantly alleviate depression and feelings of loneliness. Sharing your story can greatly help in cases of trauma or childhood wounding.
On the other hand, talking can be a form of rumination which is a symptom of depression and anxiety. I like to call it unproductive talking. Talking is not always helpful for emotions like anger, anxiety or fears. People who worry love to talk about what worries them. It does not mean they feel better afterwards. They may even feel worse. Thus, contained, goal-oriented and structured therapy works best. It is essential to do things differently in between sessions.