If you aren’t familiar with the practice of therapy, it can seem a bit strange at first. When asked to explain it, I often hear people say something to the effect of “So…strangers come to your office and talk about their problems? Is that really how it works?” to which the answer is: yeah, that’s about right.
There is more to it than that, of course, but it’s certainly understandable to feel a bit uncomfortable initially – when experiencing difficult feelings, most people first consider talking to someone they already know and trust (a friend, a family member, a clergy-person, etc.) While recognizing the vital benefits of having support from the important people in our lives, it’s also a good bet that you don’t feel entirely comfortable talking about *everything* that might be on your mind with someone you already have an existing relationship with. Perhaps you don’t want them knowing your business and judging you. Perhaps you don’t want them burdened with your problems and worried about you. Or perhaps that person’s well-intentioned advice – “just snap out of it” or “look on the bright side” or “you need to relax more” – actually makes you feel worse.
It is often easier and more beneficial in the long-run to have such discussions with someone outside your social or family circle, so that you can feel safe, secure, and free to say whatever might be on your mind. Overall, therapy is a process of self-exploration and improvement. This can take many forms, but the end goal is usually the same – reducing problematic symptoms, improving strengths and skills, and putting you in a position to continue doing the things that are most important to you. My role in this is neither a director nor a passive observer, but a guide. Where you go is up to you; hopefully I can travel with you to help you get there.