It’s happened again. You just realized that you’ve been staring off into space while you’re trying to finish your work. It’s not really zoning out; it’s more like re-living an incident, an interaction that is troubling. Lately, they’ve been more frequent and you just can’t stop thinking about them. What should you do about it?
Steps to try when you have a problem
Maybe I just need some information
All bookstores, including those on-line, sell books that address many issues commonly faced—death of a loved one, career change, difficulties in relationships, and the list goes on. Many books provide information based on research and real life experiences. Books can be helpful when you’re just starting to learn about issues, and it also helps to read about people who have gone through similar challenges. Books are nice because you can refer back to them once they’ve been read. Books are a good starting point.
Maybe I can fix it myself
TV shows and websites commonly support the societal message that when we have a problem, we can fix it ourselves. You can watch a video on-line that will walk you through repairing your plumbing. And the same is true for mental health issues. There are websites for therapists. There are websites for products. And there are websites for every mental health organization, both local and national. All kinds of information can be found on-line, and all kinds of misinformation can be found as well. Websites for individual therapists can be helpful in getting an idea what the person is like and if you think you will enjoy meeting with them. Websites of national organizations, while they can be overwhelming, can provide information based on research findings. Information is available in many places.
Maybe I need therapy
The time to make an appointment with a therapist is when you are thinking about seeing a therapist. At this point you are likely motivated and open to suggestions and support. Being in therapy allows you to tell your story, express your concerns and feelings, and admit to thoughts you are having that may not be advantageous. In therapy, you will receive support, suggestions of possible alternative solutions, and the opportunity examine your situation from a different perspective. The responsibility of the therapist is not to advise, judge, or criticize, but to assist, guide, and accept. The relationship with the therapist is unique and paramount in the therapeutic process—something not available in books and on websites. Therapy is another tool you can use to solve your problem.
“Isn’t seeing a therapist admitting to failure?”
First of all, failure of what? Are you being tested? If yes, were you supplied with the study materials? Secondly, in many other aspects of our lives, we have much less trouble asking for help. You probably don’t feel that you’re admitting defeat when you go to the doctor because you are not feeling well. It’s more accurate to say that by getting help and support you are actually moving toward healing. I would also like to talk about why you are giving yourself such mean messages, but that is for another time.
If you’re just seeking out some information regarding a particular issue, there are an infinite number of books, experts, and videos available. If you’re thinking about getting help with changing or improving an aspect of your life, you may benefit from the relationship element of therapy. And if you’re considering seeking therapy, now is the time. By acting while you are motivated, you improve the chances of making true life changing advances.
It’s always a good idea to gather information in order to make informed choices. Using the resources available including books, videos, and websites can clarify what the issue might be and can make troubles seem less overwhelming. Being informed can also help you find the right therapist for you to partner with. But when gathering information, if it becomes clear that you would benefit from therapy, please act swiftly. Call around. Find a therapist using the internet. And know you are doing a great thing for yourself!