Therapy Can Work

Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

Licensed Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst
Union Square, Greenwich Village, New York, NY

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Therapy Can Work

Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

Licensed Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst
Union Square, Greenwich Village, New York, NY

If I’m Thinking About Going to a Therapist It Means I’m Weak, Right?

If I’m Considering Going To A Therapist, It Means I’m Weak, Right?

~ “Asking for help is always a sign of strength.” ―Michelle Obama

I just read the tragic story of the Olympic athlete, graduate student at Stanford, one of triplets, who recently took her own life.  The title of this post was quoted in the article.  She believed that going to a therapist means you’re weak, and “preferred to suffer.”  I couldn’t disagree more strongly.  The story of this intelligent, successful woman’s death by her own hand galvanized me to write this post.  She could have lived a successful, productive life if she’d recognized that talking to an experienced therapist could have helped her.

Going to a therapist does not mean you’re weak.  It means exactly the opposite.  It takes a very strong person to recognize the need for help.  And maybe you don’t even need “help.”  Maybe you just want someone to talk to who’s not your family or close friends or colleagues.  Someone patient and compassionate who won’t judge you for who you are or what your dreams are.

Maybe you need a safe space to be able to vent, week after week, about all the frustrations in your life.  About your horrible boss.  About how your significant other just ditched you for your best friend.  Or worst of all, how one of your closest friends just committed suicide.

It’s devastating for those left behind.  And you don’t get over it easily.  (I speak from experience.)  Yes, time passes, but the pain can linger.  You might want to talk about how painful it really is and how abandoned you feel.

Maybe someone else’s suicide hasn’t happened to you, but things have been so bad in your own life you’ve thought about the idea of how much easier it would be if you weren’t here.

That’s not the answer.  Instead, you should talk to someone.  A therapist.  A trained, experienced professional who can help you untangle the knots you feel tied up in.  Figure out why things keep turning out the same way, over and over, though you’re sure you did it differently this time.  Help you understand how you get in your own way and feel so unhappy as a result.

Help you see that you’re not responsible for someone else’s feelings, and that it’s ok to take care of yourself before taking care of someone else.  If you’ve flown on an airplane, you know what they say about putting on your own oxygen mask first, before assisting someone else. How can you help someone else if you’re suffocating?

Going to a therapist is a sign of strength, not weakness, and if you’re dedicated to the process, therapy will help you.  Remember:

 ~“We need to help young people and their parents understand that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.” ― Kate, Duchess of Cambridge

2 comments on “If I’m Thinking About Going to a Therapist It Means I’m Weak, Right?”

  1. This is so sad. I thought in 2019 that people’s opinions would have evolved and they would be able to realize that seeking a good therapist is a good thing. If you’re sick, you seek medical help, right? Your emotions, your psychological make-up, are part of you. Your mind and your body are one. When a person is feeling weak, sad and despondent, they might not have the strength to make good choices for themselves. Family, friends, 24 hour suicide help lines, etc., might not seem reachable to them. We need, as individuals, as a society, to be aware and diligent. Attitudes matter. Seeking an experienced therapist should be as easy as seeking a good eye doctor and not perceived as a weakness.

     
  2. After being helped through some rough patches by therapy, I really wonder why therapy isn’t recommended the way dentistry is: As a preventative. My experience is that is therapy is helpful for learning strategies and tools for dealing with life’s curveballs, and offers a safe space for taking care of smaller issues — before they become overwhelming.

     

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