The following article was written by my sister, Emma.
When my best friend first suggested I go to therapy, I felt scared and like she thought there was a big thing wrong with me. I quickly excused her suggestion and tried to do something that normal people do, like watch TV or poach eggs.
I recently moved countries and decided to go, because deep down I felt as if I knew there was something not quite right, not that I was bad or wrong, but that, I wasn’t responding to life in the way that the Lord desired me to.
Here’s 5 reasons I think everyone should consider going to therapy.
1. It Works
Therapy has taught me to be more self aware, understanding and empathetic. It’s as if I’m able to have mercy on people more. What it all boils down to is this:
People react negatively because they are not receiving the love they need.
Therapy is all about exploring the areas where you haven’t received the love you needed and trying not to act out of those wounded memories in life today.
Everyone is hurting because everyone was made for the love of God and often I look in the wrong areas to receive that love.
2. God can work through your therapist.
My first therapy session had me feeling like she was a robot. I had thoughts like
“Why doesn’t she respond to my sadness the way my spiritual director does?”
“Why doesn’t she tell me it’s going to be ok! or try to comfort me?”
I realized then that therapy was different than any other direction I had received before, it was a completely new approach to Emma Fradd’s mind. I remember crying in the car after my first session, totally confused because she had me considering things I had never considered before because I was too afraid.
Not all sessions are like this, some times I just sit and don’t know what to say, It takes time.
I was cautious at first because I thought no healing could happen unless Jesus Christ was present and because she wasn’t an explicit Catholic Therapist I had my doubts. But Jesus is present. I pray before and after every session. Rarely she says things I don’t agree with, but I let her know. I was blessed to have a good fit with her right off the bat, it takes other people a couple of tries to find the right person to be their therapist.
3. Therapy isn’t prying, it’s learning.
A common view on therapy that I held was
“Do I really need it?, I haven’t had that bad of a life, people go through much worse, I’m already a deep thinker, I don’t think it would be healthy to pry into my emotions too much, can’t I just get over it?”
Looking back on past Emma, all I have to say is
“how about you get over the fact that you need to get over it”
Or course therapy can be intense, I go into some of the most hurtful memories I have, but how beautiful that I get to come out the other side feeling at peace and understanding why I acted in ways I acted.
Things don’t get intense unless you make it intense and intense isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve heard stories of therapist’s prying and making assumptions. Sometimes I feel as if my therapist is making assumptions. For example one week she went on holiday and the next week when she came back she asked me how I felt while she was gone, I responded “fine” and I must have broke eye contact to look at the floor.
She followed my eyes with her head and said “were your really?” and I said, “yep, totally fine, I don’t feel like i’m relying on you too heavily or anything.” and that was that. Sometimes I suppose it can seem they are looking in the wrong areas, but you guide the session, you do the talking. They are there almost as a soundboard to ask you about your feelings and explain certain concepts to you, they never give their opinion about anything.
4. It’s humbling.
And you and I need to be humbled. it’s a hard first step to make an appointment, even if you don’t feel as if it’s working, it’s hard to keep going. But I pray for the grace to have patience. Of course I want to be fixed and healed right now! but who knows how long it can take? as my Spiritual Director Pati (who is awesome) says.
“you need to be ok with not being ok”
5. We all have patterns of behaviour that are bad.
Here’s some of mine. I’m passive aggressive, I like to subtly control people, I can be manipulative in my speech and feel entitled to respect especially by those who are closest to me, part of my gift-giving love language is because i’m afraid people won’t like me if i don’t, I have a hard time saying no to doing things for people if I think they will like me more because of it, I’m afraid every human on earth doesn’t really like me, i’m judgemental without knowing it, I have patterns of rejection in my past…
I sound quite depressing don’t I?
Well the truth is that this self-knowledge is actually an incredible virtue and I can train myself to not act out of these negative patterns. It takes time, and I will fail. But Therapy is teaching me to say what I mean when i’m sad or mad, not to just act it out, to have mercy on those who can’t love me the way I want them to or feel I need, It’s teaching me to say no and to be ok with that, to not control and to let others think differently from me and be ok with that, It’s teaching me that I was made for God and only God will fufill me.
We all want love and we are all broken, and we all want love form the people who are broken.
Therapy is literally teaching me to deal better with every situation in life that I’ll ever have, and I think everyone could benefit from it.