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Can You Go to Therapy If You Don’t Know What’s Wrong?

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OK, I won’t leave you hanging in suspense on this one. If you’re asking yourself “Can I go to therapy?” the answer is: absolutely yes. 

Therapy is for everyone.

Therapy is for people with mental illnesses and people looking to break generational cycles and people struggling with self-esteem and people who want to improve themselves. Therapy is for literally everyone, and if you ask me, there’s never a bad time to start therapy. 

It’s OK Not to Know What’s Wrong

Some people start therapy because they know they’re depressed. They can’t get out of bed, they can’t feel anything and they just know it’s depression.

But that isn’t the case for everyone. And that’s OK. You don’t have to know all the answers to get started.

Let’s read that again: you don’t have to know all the answers to get started.

That’s actually the therapist’s job. Not to figure out what’s wrong with you because there’s nothing wrong with who you are as a person, but to help you identify your biggest struggles (and strengths) and equip you to overcome them (using your strengths). 

The truth is, most people don’t know their exact diagnosis or anything like that when they start therapy. They just know that they’re miserable or scared or dysfunctional in some way and they want help.

It’s OK if you’re in the same boat. 

Whose Approval Are You Seeking When You Ask “Can I Go To Therapy?”

Something you might want to ask yourself if you’re wondering “Can I go to therapy?” is this: whose approval are you seeking? 

A lot of people want to know that they won’t be judged if they start therapy, and sometimes there are very specific people whose judgment we fear the most. Sometimes it’s a parent or a caregiver, sometimes it’s a partner, it can even be a close friend or coworker. We love these people, and we want them to think highly of us, and because there is still some societal stigma attached to therapy, we worry about what they’ll think.

It’s OK to care what others think, but I just want to remind you that your own approval is enough. Seriously, if something is good enough for you, it’s good enough, period. If this doesn’t feel true, try placing your hand over your heart, closing your eyes and saying it out loud. Take a few deep breaths and say it again. Try to feel this truth in your body. Your approval is enough.

7 Journal Prompts to Prepare You for Your First Therapy Appointment

If you’re still unsure about whether it’s really OK for you to start therapy, try using these journal prompts to help you sift through your thoughts:

1. If it went perfectly, therapy would look like… (describe).

2. What kinds of strengths are required to start therapy? How does therapy make me strong instead of weak? (Hint: therapy requires a lot of strength, and you can do this!)

3. My ideal therapist is… (describe).

4. What are 10 possible benefits of therapy?

5. Why am I hesitating to start therapy? What am I afraid of? (It’s OK to be afraid; this prompt is just meant to help you to explore your feelings, not to shame you for them!)

6. What struggles am I facing right now? How could therapy potentially help with those struggles?

7. My approval is all I need. If I think something is good for me, that approval is enough. (Continue affirming yourself, maybe exploring why your approval doesn’t always feel like enough, even though it is.)

You’re OK, Therapy Is For Everyone

If you’re still unsure about starting therapy, that’s OK. I get it. It’s a big step and the stigma surrounding therapy doesn’t make the choice to start any easier. It’s OK to be struggling with this decision.

But I promise, no matter what’s going on, no matter your reason for wanting to start therapy, it’s OK.

Your problems may not be the biggest problems in the world, but why does that mean they don’t matter? Why does that mean you don’t deserve help? You are just as deserving of help and guidance as anyone else, even if you don’t know what’s wrong or feel like nothing’s wrong at all. Therapy is an amazing tool for growth, peace of mind and healing, and it’s open to everyone.

 If you need a little more of a push to start something so new and scary, why not join the Finding the Courage to Try 5-Day Email Challenge? It’s completely free and it can help you find your courage so you aren’t held back by your fears of failure (or of success).

A version of this article was previously published on the author’s blog, Healing Unscripted.

If you’re ready to start therapy, check out Mighty Contributor Allison Faraclas’ guide for how to find a therapist.

Getty Images illustration via solarseven

Originally published: February 17, 2021
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