It's a valid question, and maybe one you're asking yourself as you search the internet for answers to life's issues.
Routine vs. Emergency Maintenance
Think of a mechanic. You can take your car in to the shop when your breaks down completely, blows a fuse, pops a tire, loses pressure...you get the point. The car becomes un-driveable, and something must be fixed for it to operate correctly.
You can also take your car into the shop as a preventative measure, doing routine check ups like the 20,000-mile maintenance service. The shop will replace an air filter, change the oil, test the battery or top off the fluids.
Preventative vs. Acute Care
You can also compare therapy to medical care. In our lifetimes, most of us will utilize preventative medicine (well checks, immunizations, routine checks) and emergency medicine. Both are necessary; we are thankful to have regular doctors to keep on top of our health care and also glad to have emergency medicine when needed in a hurry!
Whether you think about therapy in terms of maintenance or care, all of us at one point or another are going to need some extra help in maintaining or caring for our mental health. One in four adults experiences mental illness and at least half of us will experience major emotional difficulty at some point in our life. Therapy can help!
Benefits of Being Heard
Maybe you are drifting through life and in need of some routine maintenance, or perhaps you are in urgent need of care; Therapists are here to support you in whatever season of life you find yourself in. We play a vital role as an outside perspective: we can see into your issue with fresh perspective, and listen empathically without needing to fix the issue, solve the problem, or interject our own story.
The benefits of being heard are immensely helpful--you feel understood, cared for, and nurtured. It helps to get all those thoughts out of your head and share them in a supportive environment.
Practice Makes Proficient
In addition to being heard, therapy is a great place to learn new skills and practice them in a safe environment. Unhealthy or impractical behaviors that are wreaking havoc in your personal life take a while to un-learn. The therapeutic relationship provides space to adjust how you think, see your behaviors more clearly, and learn new ways of thinking and behaving that have a lasting impact on your emotional, physical, intellectual, and relational health.
Lastly, another great benefit of therapy is the positive impact on your relationships. Becoming more self-aware, learning new coping mechanisms, being heard and understood--these all lead to having a greater sense of who you are and what you can offer others. You gain more patience with your kids, more understanding in your relationships, and more empathy for others.
Why therapy? Because life is hard; and sometimes, you just need a little help to move forward.