Dr. David Sack discusses the equine therapy program at Promises and CBS News explores the…
Going to Therapy Is a Sign of Strength
There are a lot of myths about therapy in society. There’s an inherent assumption that people who see counselors or psychologists are “crazy,” or that if you go to a therapist you’re somehow weak; but this is far from the truth. You might be skeptical about whether you need therapy after rehab, or may even feel like you can’t do it. If no one in your family has been to therapy before, you may have taken on the general opinion that it isn’t necessary, or that the people you share genes with are somehow different from the people who attend therapy. Looking at the reality behind these concerns helps you jump that last hurdle and get the support you need.
Nobody in My Family Has Ever Been to Therapy
If your family members have never gone to therapy, there are two possible explanations: either they never needed to attend therapy in the first place – a family history with no mental illness whatsoever – or, considerably more likely, somebody in your family has needed therapy but didn’t receive it. Whatever the answer, it’s irrelevant to your situation right now. Overcoming addiction isn’t easy and often requires you to address the way you think about yourself and how you deal with your emotional and personal stress. Approximately 13 percent of American adults receive treatment for a mental health problem each year; it’s not unusual to get help.
Can’t My Friends or Family Support Me?
Of course friends and family are valuable sources of emotional support, but there’s a big difference between professional help and amateur help. If your car isn’t working, you might get your friend to take a look at it, but if he doesn’t know what the problem is you have to go to a mechanic. Friends and family can be there for you, but psychologists are experts in these types of problems, they have extensive experience dealing with them and are entirely focused on helping you with your issues. There is no judgment and no need to feel ashamed when you talk to an empathetic professional, and he or she will be able to determine the extent of the issue and help you develop strategies for avoiding relapse. Unless your family members happen to have extensive professional experience in helping people with substance abuse issues, a therapist is likely to do a much better job.
Therapy Doesn’t Make You Weak
Attending therapy is not a sign of weakness. It’s not someplace where people whine about inconsequential issues and receive pop-psychological techno-babble in response. Attending therapy is truly admitting to yourself that you need help, and that, paradoxically, takes strength. You’ll be able to explore your issues under the guidance of a professional and come to understand your problems much more deeply. Most importantly, you’ll pick up psychological tools to help you avoid relapse and deal with triggers and cues. The therapist will help you improve your self-esteem and gain the inner strength to say no when offered your substance of choice. Attending therapy isn’t something for weak people; it’s for people who recognize their shortcomings and want to improve their situations. The only thing that’s truly weak is running from your problems by pretending they don’t exist and blotting them out with drugs and alcohol.
Your family members might not have ever been in therapy, and they might even think it’s a waste of time, but if you truly want to overcome addiction, you could use some professional support. If it was an easy problem to overcome, it wouldn’t have escalated and become a serious issue in the first place, and you need to admit to yourself that you do need the support. Don’t let anybody else make you feel like you’re being “weak” or that you’re admitting that you’re “crazy” by attending. Just remember that people need help sometimes, and if you do need it, refusing it could lead to a relapse or an escalation of the issue.