These days, it seems like you can’t throw a stone without coming across a meme that says: “(insert healthy activity here) is cheaper than therapy.” TV shows and movies portray bumbling and unethical therapists, representing experiences far different from the compassion and interaction in our therapy rooms. These memes and pop-culture representations cue us into two things: 1) others don’t truly understand how therapy works, and 2) they want to experience the results that therapy offers. So, in the interest of demystifying and clarifying, we’ve decided to break down the mystique of the therapeutic process.
In it’s essence, therapy is a relationship between therapist and client, where the therapist provides a safe space in which the client can feel free to explore various parts of herself. During such an exploration, the client may realize that there are certain parts of herself that they want to expand, and others that they may rather transform into something new.
This may sound different from what you’ve probably heard about therapy. Even the mention of someone undergoing treatment may bring up notions of cuckoo’s nests, or, at the very least neurotic Seinfeld types. But, the truth is many people choose to try therapy because they want to improve their relationships, increase self-awareness, or become their best selves.
Still, we are sure that when some of you picture a therapist, you see Sigmund Freud, and his psychoanalytic theories that always seemed to center around sex, or, at least, a cigar. While we certainly don’t want to disregard Freud’s influence on the field of psychotherapy, we do want to let you know that psychology as a science, has come a long way since those early days.
For example, recent research in the area of neuroscience has helped us to understand the physical reasons why therapy works. Specifically, we now know that the brain continues to grow, and neural connections continue to be made throughout the lifespan, where previously it was believed that the adult brain was fully formed around the age of 25. What this means is that the behaviors that we regularly engage in have the power to shape our brains.
That’s great news for the field of therapy! A recent study confirmed this idea by showing how articulating your feelings helps to make painful emotions less intense by directly changing the brain. And that’s not all! Even more research is being done concerning mirror neurons and the role that they play in therapy. Basically, the research is showing that by sitting with a qualified therapist who empathizes with your situation, your brain is picking up cues on how to do the same for yourself.
Essentially, the research is showing what therapists have been hoping to prove for decades: that therapy is helpful, not only for illnesses and issues, but also for building a healthy relationship between oneself and others.
Contact us so we can talk more about how therapy can benefit your life. We can’t wait to get started!