We often easily spend money on things like beauty, working out, nights out, and extracurricular activities for our children. But when it comes to our mental and emotional well-being, why do we hesitate to invest in something that is so vital to our functioning and ability to enjoy or fully engage in life? For many individuals who decide to engage in therapy, it is typically not a long-term need. Everyone engages in therapy for a variety of reasons. Many individuals need a brief, solution-focused approach for a recent event. Others have long-term needs from past trauma or more serious diagnoses. For those with a need for brief therapy, it typically last six to eight sessions on average. The single greatest predictor of successful therapy is the relationship you develop with your therapist. If a trusting, comfortable relationship is established, then therapy is more likely to be effective.
There are many excuses we may tell ourselves to not start therapy. “It’s too expensive!” Yes, we are an out-of-network provider, but investing in mental health will allow you to move forward and be more effective in many areas of life. Trying to remember that focusing on mental and emotional well-being is just as important as a gym membership or participating in soccer in the winter. Plus, when engaging in successful therapy approaches, you can perform even better and your confidence can improve in ways you may not have realized effects your performance in many areas. If your child is experiencing anxiety before sporting events, how can they perform and participate? But in taking time to work on reducing their anxiety through mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, they will begin to conquer their anxiety and enjoy their sport again. Recently, a parent of a patient described how their spouse felt it was too expensive to engage in therapy for their child. The parent stated that they spend that amount every Sunday when they go out to eat and that their child’s well-being was more important than a regular Sunday dinner at a restaurant.
Another reason someone may avoid starting therapy is “I never have time!” It is true that we are all extremely busy in today’s fast-paced world. But somehow, we manage to find time to go to a variety of other doctor’s appointments, numerous after school activities, date nights, watch television, work out, cook dinner, etc. Most therapists have a wide variety of office hours. We are open Tuesday through Thursday from 9-8pm and Saturdays from 9-1 for example. If you can find time to watch a television show every night, you can fit in one therapy session a week; it is possible! Also, keep in mind that most patients start out weekly and then switch to every other week and then perhaps once a month to even a few times a year for check-ins or if something comes up. The idea of weekly therapy is not a permanent need for a vast majority of patients.
Finally, another reason that I often hear or notice about not starting therapy is that it is very difficult to discuss emotions and thoughts that are negative or uncomfortable. This is quite true. Who would want to discuss something painful, scary, or something that makes you angry? It seems like negative emotions and thoughts are something to be avoided. But this is not true at all. Anger, anxiety and hurt are all signs from our body and minds that something is not right. Ignoring a feeling or thought does NOT make it go away! Therapy can help you identify and work through these feelings and thoughts. Many times our thoughts and feelings make no sense or seem to come from nowhere. In therapy, you or your child can learn to identify and change your thoughts through mindfulness and cognitive behavioral approaches. Plus, even if a specific event that made you angry or nervous is gone, rest-assured something similar will happen at some point and if you do not learn to have insight and change your thoughts/feelings/behaviors, then you will repeat the past. Therapy works!
Take the time to search for a therapist that you will feel comfortable with and take time out of today’s busy, rushed life to focus on yourself or your child. The short and long-term benefits will be worth it! At Dr. Angela Reiter and Associates in Eastchester, NY we have six therapists with a variety of experience and expertise to help you and your family feel comfortable and make progress.