Have you ever thought of visiting a therapist? If yes, then there’s nothing wrong about it. Don’t be hard on yourself or be judgemental, if the thought of taking therapy has ever crossed your mind.
Of course, we have our close friends and family, who we can vent out to, but there’s a difference in seeking advice from a professional.
That’s why, on this World Mental Health Day, we want you to open up your mind about therapy, and to guide us, we have none other than Saniya Bedi, a Delhi-NCR based therapist, who is also the founder of Therapy By Saniya. Bedi has been an advocate of therapy and a firm believer of ‘trust, vent, and transform’.
Let’s hear what she has to say!
‘Our society has made therapy a taboo, which isn’t right’
Ms Bedi points to an alarming fact about people making assumptions that therapy is only for those who suffer from mental health disorders. It is ingrained in our minds that either we are completely fine, or there’s an issue with us.
We never look for the middle ground, and that’s a huge pain point.
“Personally speaking, you don’t need to have a mental disorder to see a therapist. At times, all you need is to vent out in a safe space. But people tend to overcomplicate the entire idea of taking therapy”, she says.
She adds, “Therapy is needed to bring things into perspective. Your therapist is like a mirror to you. You need to understand that the times are already tough, and being in therapy can help a lot! Today, we largely live in a nuclear setup, and all of us are so busy with our lives. There is no one to talk to, and that’s where a therapist comes into play.”
Here are the five things therapy can teach you, according to Saniya Bedi:
1. It will help you accept yourself the way you are
“You know we are so overly critical about ourselves and our feelings, that we stop accepting who we are. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and not to judge. This is one of the best things therapy can teach you”, she explains.
2. Therapy also increases self-awareness
If you are not aware about yourself, then it will become even harder for you to understand what’s happening outside. This can give birth to more issues. But if you take therapy, it will help you deal with problems in a more nuanced manner.
3. It gives you a sense of control
Ms Bedi suggests that when you seek therapy, you are in control of the session. You finally take the driving seat and the therapist facilitates the process. S/he doesn’t take decisions on your behalf, but helps you decide what exactly you want.
4. It help you realise several things
“People tend to trivialize their feelings and when in therapy they realise that no emotion is good or bad, they are able to accept themselves better in a non-judgmental way”, she said.
5. It empowers you
When you’re told that nothing is wrong with you, and whatever is happening or all that you’re feeling is normal, it is quite empowering for them. Plus, when they feel their life is in their control, they naturally feel more empowered.
Therapy doesn’t divide and everyone is welcome, says Ms Bedi
“According to me, anybody and everybody can go for therapy. We need to demystify the razzmatazz around it and accept it to be completely normal”, she said.
She suggested that there is simply no need to wait and watch, until you have a complete breakdown.
Here are some situations that require professional help:
1. If you are unable to do day to day chores that you would easily do in the past, then it can be an indicator for you to visit a therapist.
2. If you are not able to sleep or eat well.
3. If you feel that you are stuck in some sort of a vicious cycle, especially when it comes to a relationship.
4. If you feel that you are unable to uplift yourself.
5. If you are feeling anxious.
6. If you are always looking for external validation.
But when it’s all good, then why do people hesitate and avoid therapy?
Well, there are quite a few reasons why people avoid taking therapy:
1. People think that if you go for therapy, you are mad. This is because we don’t understand mental health.
2. “If you ask me then another thing that makes people hesitant to visit a therapist is that they don’t understand the concept of first aid, especially with regard to mental health. Instead of visiting a therapist they try to sort things out by taking a small vacation or eating what they like. But the point is that one should be provided with correct psychological first aid, and that’s the key”, she explained.
3. She also suggests that people don’t value what they feel. They judge way too much and feel like a loser in the first place.
4. Societal taboo is another and the biggest cause, due to which people avoid therapy. “Most of my clients are very concerned about the confidentiality as they feel that their near and dear ones would judge them”, says Ms Bedi.
5. “Lastly, I think lack of awareness is another challenging terrain. One might want to see a therapist, but due to lack of awareness, they resist or don’t know the right approach”, she says.
The last word
“Everyone who is reading this interview must know that no feeling is good or bad, and self-care is not selfish at all”, she said while signing off.