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Should I Go To Therapy?

After many years of working in counselling, there are a few truths that have become very clear to me.

The longer you wait to make a change, the harder it is.

It’s a universal truth for most things – almost everything is easier when you begin sooner rather than later. The more behaviours, thoughts and feelings are repeated or reinforced, the more effort and willpower it takes to change them.

Small, consistent change is more powerful and easier to commit to.

By the time most people come to therapy, their challenges have been there for a while because they started small and grew over time. Therefore, the same strategy can work in reverse – small consistent changes for the better will over time lead to significant changes. We don’t have to do everything at once. It’s about progress with support, not perfection.

It’s an inside job.

Most of us were not taught how to master and understand our thoughts, emotions, or behaviours. More often we are taught from a young age that it’s the outside things like careers, relationships or money that will make us happy and fulfilled. But really, it’s focusing internally by choosing healthy thinking patterns, feeling and experiencing our emotions and behaviours in ways that align with our authentic selves, that truly foster happiness and lead to meaningful success.

It’s never too late to change.

The smallest shifts in perspective like “life is happening TO me” to “life is happening FOR me” can cause rippling effects on how you move through the world and the meaning you give to it. The small things in life add up to make the life you have now. While life around us does not fundamentally change, once we change, new experiences and opportunities provide us with the ability to see life differently. In couples counselling, it’s not what your partner does, but rather, what meaning am I giving to what they have done, that actually matters.

Therapy can be the hardest work you will do, but also the most rewarding.

Therapy is an investment in yourself. It says you acknowledge your value and worth and are willing to do the work to be your best self. There is this idea that putting yourself first is somehow selfish, but if you prioritize yourself, you actually have more to give to others. If I am running on empty, resentment, and exhaustion, how can I give my best to anything? The metaphor of the gas tank is often used to describe this: When your gas tank is running low on fuel, you have to stop and refuel. Your car can only run on fumes for so long. The same goes for people – taking a short amount of time for ourselves gives us the power to go forward.

We have all experienced some trauma in our lives.

Life is full of challenges and struggles, times when we were not fully able to be our authentic selves. These major, minor or micro-traumas have all impacted our sense of self in ways that caused us to disconnect from who we are in some capacity, and all these events leave scars on us, even when we don’t realize it. Understanding how our past wounds have left lasting impacts allows us to properly process them for what they are. In doing so they lose the power they held over us by being part of our subconscious. Awareness gives us the power of choice – to choose to move on, choose to forgive, choose to give and make different choices in the future.

Therapy works best the sooner you start by focusing on your inner world beginning with small and manageable changes to help us cope with life’s challenges. None of us are immune to self-doubt and it’s never too late to assert your true worth and value to achieve your life goals.

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Searchlight Counselling provides in-person and virtual therapy for individuals and couples in Burnaby, Vancouver, and across British Columbia. Specializing in BIPOC & 2SLGBTQIA+.