Cut to a few years later, when I realized I was having problems and needed someone to talk to, someone who wasn’t a friend or family member, who wouldn’t judge me, and who I wouldn’t feel I was burdening with my problems. Turns out that’s exactly what a therapist is for, so I went to one. You absolutely don’t have to be “crazy” to see a therapist, and the VAST majority of people who go to therapy aren’t wearing tinfoil hats or convinced that traffic lights talk to them. They’re average people, like you and me, only something’s happened in their lives that they can’t quite handle on their own, and they need someone to talk to.
There are about a billion situations in which therapy can be helpful, including ones many of us go through: depression, anxiety, the death of a loved one, moving, school stress, rough relationships with family members, sexual identity issues, dealing with parents’ divorce or remarriage, and also things like eating disorders, self harm, sexual assault, chronic illness, or experiencing something traumatic. Some people think it’s weird to go and talk to someone you don’t know, but I think in some ways, it’s almost easier: this is someone you go to just to talk, and they’re 100% there to listen to and support YOU. You don’t see this person in class or at family gatherings, and due to therapist-client confidentiality, even if you’re a minor and your parent takes you to every appointment, your therapist still can’t repeat what you’ve said, unless you or someone else is in danger (so stuff like you and your sweetie fooling around or your ditching class isn’t gonna make it outside the therapist’s door. Your therapist might tell your parent or guardian something – or have you do it in session – if there’s a concern you may be in serious trouble, like if you’re about to run away, or you’ve started drinking a LOT).It’s totally okay to come to the conclusion on your own that yeah, going to a therapist might be a good idea; it shows you value yourself enough to ask for help, and that’s a brave thing to do. Even if you don’t have health insurance, there are still programs where young people can see a therapist for free, or very inexpensively (ask your school counselor; for those of you in college/university, your school should have a counseling center). It’s really important to find someone you feel comfortable opening up to, so think about if you might feel better with one gender or race than another, and if the age of the therapist matters to you. Make sure you find one who specializes in your age group and/or problem.
Getting help is a great thing, and I wish I’d known to ask for a different therapist when I was 14; it might’ve made a big difference. I’m glad I know the benefits of therapy now and I’m not afraid to get help if I need it.
Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist? If you’ve seen a therapist, was it helpful? Tell us about it in the comments!