How Therapy Can Transform Your Life

By Rebecca Lewis on March 26, 2014

We all go through difficult times. There are days when things aren’t working the way they should, and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t stay positive. Sometimes, our relationship feels frustrating – we feel unloved, uncared for, or taken for granted. There are also moments when we are bombarded with persistent feelings of sadness and we don’t know why.

Sad to say, this is completely normal. Difficulties are part of life. The good thing is that we are all endowed with skills and abilities to get through the bad times, move forward in life, and be happy after all.

We call it “transformation”.

The problem is that some of us find it hard to nurture their special abilities to cope with life’s challenges due to various reasons. For most people, the ability to improve and transform their life is hindered by the trauma they have experienced since childhood – such as loss, rejection, abuse, neglect, and the like. For others, it’s the present conflicts they encounter at home, at work and in their personal relationships that make them less resilient.

And here is where therapy comes in.

Therapy comes in numerous types. You may have heard of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy, art and music therapy, and so on. They involve different treatment processes, and depending on the issue you are dealing with, each can improve your life skills.

There’s a common belief that therapy is only for the mentally ill. But the truth is that you don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental disorder to get therapy. Talk therapy for instance, is not just about “talking about your problems”. It’s also about finding solutions to your most common concerns, even if you think they are not that significant. Therapies may involve tracking your mood, writing about your thoughts and emotions, participating in social activities, going through your past experiences, and changing some of your views about life. Through therapy, you get the chance to talk about life events that you never had a chance to talk about, or deal with as a young child. Therapy gives you a safe and secure avenue for self expression. Through it, you may realise that it is okay to feel, express, and explore your emotions, particularly those that you have tried to repress a long, long time ago.

Therapy can also be a good place to discover yourself and explore many areas of your life that you haven’t paid attention to for the past years. It helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and capabilities you never thought you have. It helps you learn to accept yourself, your flaws, and limitations, and be happy of who you are today, whilst continually striving hard to become a better person.

Another important advantage of seeking therapy is that it helps you deal with negative emotions in a more effective way. Anger, frustration, hate, anxiety, and fear – all these can make us say or do things we really don’t want to do. Negative emotions can be so powerful as to change you and make you a difficult person. They can make people you love go away, and make you less likely to maintain close relationships with those who are dear to you. And as you may know, negative emotions are often hard to control. Take the case of anger as an example. Once you feel it, it’s hard to let it go. All you probably want to do is scream and all. And often, uncontrolled anger damages our relationships with others. Therapy can help you work out where your negative feelings and ideas come from and why they are there. Furthermore, it can help you devise strategies to keep calm during difficult and really frustrating moments.

Aside from this, therapy can also help you deal with the world’s silent killer – stress. Stress is among the unavoidable things that make our life more difficult. It is often the root cause of many work and relationship problems.  Remember the sleepless nights you spent finishing a school project or an office paperwork, or those special gatherings you’ve hosted that made you stand for several hours in the kitchen – stress can really make you irritable, grumpy, tired, and all, and even makes you less likely to make better decisions. Worse, it makes you more pessimistic. A good therapist can teach you plenty of non-medication strategies to relieve stress. Some of the most recommended techniques are meditation and other mindfulness-based practices, deep breathing, and so on. You may also be encouraged to participate in support group programmes and other activities designed to improve your resilience to stress. Most importantly, therapy can help you assess the root causes of your stress and find the most appropriate ways to deal with them.

You don’t need an overhaul to improve the quality of your life. Sometimes, taking small steps is the best approach. And this includes undergoing therapy. Whether you are dealing with a mental problem, or you simply want to learn new skills to tackle life’s issues much better, deal with negative emotions properly, overcome stress, discover yourself, and so on. Many people find their journey into therapy to be rewarding. But don’t assume that after your therapy, you will become a “renewed” person – someone who is emotionally invincible, someone who no longer experiences stress, or someone who doesn’t feel anxious anymore about each and every problem they encounter in life. As we have mentioned awhile ago, difficulties are part of life. You’re not human if you don’t experience negative feelings.

Therapy is not the “magic pill” for all your life’s problems. It’s not going to take away your current problems or prevent the new ones from coming. But one thing’s for sure – it can be of great help. By giving you a place to learn new skills and coping strategies, and by helping you reframe your thoughts to see more of the positive side than the negative side of things – therapy can transform your life significantly, and lead you towards happiness and satisfaction. 

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