Making the decision to seek professional help for your stress, anxiety or depression is a big one. Quite often it happens not out of a proactive choice, but simply because we have exhausted our other options – and what normally works to help us sort out our problems is no longer working. But when do you know when that time comes? Of course we are all different in terms of the types of challenge we are facing and the support system we have available – but I offer you this light-hearted clip from a well-known series I was recently watching:
Friend 1: We were thinking, maybe, you could ..er…could do with a professional to help you sort this out and get it straight in your mind…?
Friend 2: What, you think I need to see a shrink?!! I don’t need help, I’ve got you guys!!
Friend 1: But honey, this is out of our league!
Friend 2: Surely I have free rein to whine to my friends?
Friend 1: But we’re as screwed up as you! It’s like the blind leading the blind! Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who is objective.
Friend 2: But therapy is so self-indulgent. Ancient man didn’t need therapy to survive.
Friend 1: Sweetheart, ancient man didn’t live past age 30.
A funny clip, but with a serious point: Sometimes, however well-meaning our friends and family may be, they simply are unable to offer an objective and informed enough view to help us out of our anxiety, depression, relationship problems etc.
Therapy can offer you things that your friends and family can’t, including: confidentiality, objectivity, evidence-based psychological tools and techniques to help you lift anxiety and depression, see a relationship problem more clearly, or come to terms with loss and grief…and perhaps most importantly, a firm focus on you and how best to support your personal growth through the challenging period in which you find yourself.
Therapy is not designed to replace the role of family and friends and can never do this – but it can sometimes offer you a safe, protected and boundaried place which can be a priceless addition to your support system.