You might be here because you are curious of the answer to this question, you're doing some research.

I will be honest with you. Therapy may not be the best fit.

Therapy, I know, has done a lot of harm unfortunately. You or someone you know may have had a harmful experience in therapy. Or, the topic itself is often elusive, taboo, stigmatized, or so varied per therapist that it was hard to know what to expect, if it was working, and so expectations and communications or lack thereof felt overwhelming or demoralizing.

But fortunately, "therapy," is not the one & only approach or road to healing or wellness. I truly believe that.

I believe therapy works, because at its best, it does what we're already wired to do as humans: connect. A nonjudgemental, honest, empathetic conversation with a friend can be as helpful as a therapy session, if not more. A book or podcast could unlock an insight that opens new doors in your perspectives. An unexpected experience in public or trying a new food, or supporting your local community each week in small acts could be quite impactful; far reaching into many areas of your life.

You could also ask yourself, how did your ancestors heal?

There are many options on the healing & wellness journey and it all starts with what you believe, where you feel called to go, & the resources available to you. Another blog post on that to come.

But, as for therapy- and I can only speak to my scope as a licensed clinical social worker, I would want you to know, in general, as I would any person (friends, family, etc.) to know:

The truth is we can't get rid of emotions, stress, or grief. Those are natural, perpetual human experiences prompted by the world around us.

But if we are feeling stuck or frequently bothered by our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, actions or inaction, therapy may be helpful. Therapy can also be helpful to build relationship skills: with self, parts of self, & self image, or in relationship with others and communication.

Therapy may be a good fit if you feel like you've done your due diligence in trying to care for your mental health but it has been primarily challenging and it feels or seems like you haven't been able to make much headway.

Mental health therapists or psychotherapists are trained to work with folks on the spectrum of mental health challenges. The spectrum is fluid and where you land can depend on a variety of biological, psychological, social, spiritual, & environmental factors and can change over time.

You don't have to be experiencing significant mental health challenges to pursue therapy either.

I used to always love to say: therapy is supportive, but not all support is therapy. The same can be said for the reverse. Any supports can be therapeutic depending on your needs, resources, & what resonates for you.

You might also go to therapy, and you feel like you do your due diligence working with your therapist, you have put effort into the strategies and things you talked about but you don't feel like you are making any headway.

That is not an uncommon experience and is totally valid. It'll be important, if you do pursue therapy, to talk to your therapist about the challenges, doubts, or concerns you have about therapy & the process itself; how things are going for you as it's occurring.

Your therapist should remain open minded, compassionate, and receptive to feedback, even if they have a difference of opinion or additional feedback they'd like to counter back with.

All of this to say, these are my musings on the matter. This is what I would say, what I have said, to anyone who has asked; former clients, colleagues, supervisees, friends, family, alike, when the conversation starts something like: "So.... therapy.... when should I consider therapy?"

Wishing you all the wellness, care, courage, & resources on your journey.