Let me start by telling you what prompted me to write about the gift of psychotherapy. In the last one week, I have had a few of my acquaintances ring me from different corners of the globe for a psychotherapist referral. Most of them were going through some kind of difficulty- be it a troubled marriage or work stress. Some were also looking for a psychotherapist for a friend or family member. I was happy to refer them but at the same time, I found myself wishing that some of them had reached out sooner.

Even some therapists, colleagues of mine, have often shared that for certain kind of problems, they really wished the client had come much earlier.

So here I pitch the perspective of going to therapy even when nothing is really wrong in your life.

In the last year or so in India, there has been much talk about mental health in the press and media. Not too long ago we all believed that you had to be ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ to see a Psychotherapist.

Although some of that stigma attached to psychotherapy is still present, it is definitely changing, slowly and surely. Depression, Anxiety and Schizophrenia are now commonly known household words.

I am writing this piece particularly, because I strongly feel, that while we no longer think that we have to be ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ to visit a counsellor, we still hold the belief that we need to have a problem to visit a Psychotherapist.

So here I offer you another perspective:

Why not just visit a psychotherapist when you have no problems? Give yourself the Gift of Psychotherapy!

This may sound a tad ridiculous, but believe me when I say it’s an excellent, effective, growth enhancing tool. Most people who have seen a good therapist will agree. Most therapists perhaps may not share that they themselves go to therapy from time to time. But it really helps!

I used to work in a firm where counselling and psychotherapy were branded as growth oriented tools. A host of clients used to come to speak to our Psychologists even when they did not have an issue. And I observed that it was in these kinds of cases where the transformation was powerful and life changing. Hence I also tell my friends and family that it is useful to go to a therapist once in a while to have a brief chat. You never know what may shift for the better.

Normally, clients come in when they are in the midst of the crises. Like when their spouse has cheated on them or when they no longer can handle physical abuse or perhaps when there are too many low feelings. It helps them find hope and solutions to better the situation. Some of them also undergo deeper work which can help their life change for the better. Some of them leave feeling lighter, loving themselves more and certainly freer.

When you go to a psychotherapist when there is no ‘real’ problem, you have the space to explore and reflect on your life. The intention can be solely for optimising your life. It’s like talking to a dietician about how to modify your diet when you don’t have cholesterol or diabetes. The sole reason would be just to live a healthy life.

Possible Topics for Your Therapy Session:

“We know what we are but not what we may be.”  Ophelia in Hamlet

There could be several ideas but here are 12 ways to give yourself the gift of psychotherapy:

  1. You can take a step back to reassess how life is for you at this moment. Have a look into the book of your life and find inspiration to write some new chapters
  2. There may be minor irritants that can be addressed that could possibly be major irritants later on
  3. You could go for wellness counselling just to discover ways to live well and healthy
  4. It could provide you the opportunity to just acknowledge some of the positive moments in your life
  5. You can use it to discuss how you envision the new year to be for you
  6. You can use it as a tool to deal with things that you are finding hard to accept or something as small as how difficult you are finding to forgive someone
  7. You and your partner could use it to improve communication and help build a stronger connection between the two of you
  8. Learn about some different parenting methods or just gain some tips on how to raise your kids
  9. Learn time management and organization skills
  10. Learn how to cope with a transition, like a city change, a job promotion or aging parents
  11. Learn more deeply about mindfulness and meditation
  12. Apart from planning your wedding, you could also opt for pre-marital counselling

“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” – Joyce Meyer

I wish there comes a time where I could buy a gift voucher for a session, to give someone this gift of psychotherapy, and present it as a birthday or perhaps a Christmas gift 🙂 We are all like flowers. For us to bloom we need sunshine, water, nutrients. Therapy can be one of those things.

Post Contributed by: Michelle Pereira