Is therapy a 21stcentury obsession, or a must?

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The Americans seem to be obsessed. They call their therapist one of their best friends, their confidante in times of need; their ex has just turned up in town, they’re struggling to manage anxiety and work stress, or they just can’t stop heading to the freezer for their tub of comfort ice cream.

We’ve all been there; stressed, anxious, feeling overwhelmed, unsure of our direction in life, the list goes on. But do the Brits utilise the service of therapy like our American counterparts?

It seems like we may be heading that way. When I speak to even just a small number of my friends, many have experienced therapy/counselling/life coaching of some form. I myself have also recently conformed to a period of therapy, and if I’m honest I almost wish, like the American’s, that I had my therapists’ number on speed dial.

Yes, I would probably ring her when I start to feel overwhelmed at prioritising my goals for the week or when I’ve suddenly lost all self-confidence and feel like I’m simply winging it. However there is a benefit in having a confidante to lean on regularly. Perhaps it’s just a best friend who’s always there for you no matter what, but there’s something unique about confiding in someone who doesn’t have any prior judgment into your life and is ultimately, actually trained to help you deal with your emotions.

So what is therapy and why do we use it? It’s definitely not free (unless you go via the NHS and slightly excessive waiting lists), so it must be worth paying the price in place of your weekly dinner & bottle of wine with friends, right?

There are big benefits accredited with therapy and serious reasons why it’s become so popular, especially in our increasingly hectic lives:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and as if everything in your life is too intense
  • Suffering from a trauma in your past which continues to take over your thoughts
  • Feeling disconnected from people and previously loved activities
  • Turning to a substance to cope – yes a couple of glasses of wine is normal, but regular ‘benders’ to block out emotions isn’t
  • Friends who have told you that they’re concerned about you

OK maybe you’re now feeling that it’s time to share your emotions and give therapy a go…if that’s the case, the best advice is to head to your GP or to the BACP register and find a local therapist who’s qualified and accredited, and go from there.

Therapy doesn’t have to be the only way, but ultimately it’s a method to help you learn to cope with certain feelings and find new ways to overcome emotions, and so perhaps a little therapy wouldn’t hurt.

There are of course, other great methods to turn to if you’re not quite ready to open up to a therapist – exercise, meditation, books on mindfulness, speaking to friends and family, the list goes on…

Your emotions play a huge part in your daily life, the way you cope with certain situations and your overall wellbeing. With mental and physical wellbeing now being many of many, therapy is no longer a taboo subject, and perhaps there’s a good reason it’s becoming something like a 21stcentury obsession.

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