Attending therapy is not a sign of weakness but instead is a beneficial and empowering form of help that all people, regardless of their personal circumstances, can benefit from.
By Lenin O’Mahony
For many people growing up, the word therapy had a lot of negative stereotypes and assumptions to describe the process. Some individuals may be worried that others might think they are crazy for going to therapy, or that there's something wrong with them. This is especially true for men, who are told they should just “man up” or pull it together instead of going to therapy. I mean, it’s the man's job to lead, right? It's his job to take charge, make the decisions, be firm and confident. But a man who goes to therapy, who needs to work through his emotions can’t simultaneously be strong and a good leader, right? In truth, the opposite is true.
Therapy is a key tool for individuals to address their fears, anxieties, worries, and emotional frustration in a healthy way. To actually become the strong and healthy leaders they want to be, no matter their gender. Therapists help people think about why they behave or react in certain ways, and work with them to break down why those things are happening and how they can be addressed and worked on. Men should not be afraid to go to therapy, to get the help they need. Stigmas around therapy hurt many people, and keep them from living full and joyful lives. People should not be forced to remain in negative mindspaces and stress when often, there is an answer that can help them.
One of the biggest reasons people I know refuse to attend therapy isn’t just worries about judgement and the opinions of their peers, it's being forced to admit that they need help. Often today we try to make as many excuses for ourselves as we can, that we were just raised a certain way, that we just don’t like something, or that something isn’t that big of a deal.
But then our relationships suffer, our habits remain unhealthy, and we don’t succeed in becoming the person we seek to embody. Ignoring our problems because we do not like the solution seems crazy, but that often happens because of the judgement around therapy. Accepting that we have imperfections is often the first step in the journey of improving those issues and living happier lives. Therapy can help anyone through almost anything. Therapy isn’t just for people who have diagnosed mental health struggles, or people who experienced trauma.
Someone from a happy family with a good job and plenty of friends can still benefit from therapy. The truth is, no matter how great your life is, you aren’t going to be perfect. At some point in your life something will come up and you might not know where to turn, or how to address this unforeseen struggle, and that is where therapy can help. Therapy helps us break down our emotions, difficult situations, and make smart and healthy decisions during times of stress or frustration. No one will have a life that is an easy breeze, without any kind of anxiety. Being open to turning to therapy and getting help makes us better people, it helps us be strong and confident individuals. We should let go of our society's stigmas around therapy and realize that anyone can and should attend therapy in order to get them the help they might need.
Author’s Note: If you are a SMC student and want to look into possible sessions through the college, feel free to reach out to the CAPS center through the Saint Mary’s website.
Victoria Vidales '21,