Why is it taboo to talk about therapy? What is the shame in our mental health? We talk about mammograms, menopause and colonoscopies without hesitation. It makes zero sense to me and that is why I do talk and about it and will talk about it.
Mental Health therapy is no different than physical therapy or occupational therapy as it gives you tools to manage through an injury, to speed up the healing and ultimately to handle it when it comes up again. I can no more diagnose nor treat the breast cancer that a mammogram may find than I can diagnose nor treat mental illness. But both can kill you. If you have symptoms in your breast we are quick to tell you to go get it checked out right away because time is of the essence. But if you have symptoms of depression we rarely tell you to run to a therapist. Instead we may offer to have lunch and take you to a movie. We may sit and listen to what is on your mind with zero ability to help you solve it. But to suggest that you “go see someone” is considered extreme. Why?
The role that a therapist plays in unraveling the knots in our head is no less a skill that any other doctor possesses in curing us from any number of diseases. They know how to get to the core of the issues and most importantly what work to do to get past the issues.
As important as it is to see a Therapist when you are sick, it is as important to see them when you are well. Again, much like your doctor, you go and get an annual exam even when you are not sick to make sure that everything is well. It is in fact now called a “Well Visit”. Seeing a therapist when you are well is as important as when you are not. The more they know about your “normal” the better they can help when you are not.
The reality is that there is no shame in talking. We talk to our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, store clerks; for God sake we talk constantly. Why then do we have to hide when we go talk to the one person that can make something out of what we are thinking and what we are talking about. The ridiculousness of it being taboo to find meaning in our thoughts and learning techniques to manage those thoughts and control those emotions is something we have got to continue to breakthrough.
I have heard many say, when the therapy-debate arises, that they don’t need to talk to someone. It is a choice like the many we have to make in our lives and you are entitled to yours. My plight is to to take the shame and judgement away from the discussion; the discussion with a Therapist and the discussion about therapy by talking about it…it’s what we do.