When we talk about therapy, we often talk about what has brought someone to therapy:  depression, court order, failed marriage, mental illness.  None of those things are good and so the judgement that can sometimes come with someone being in therapy tends to be negative.  What is hardly ever discussed is what keeps people in therapy.  Which in many cases is the positive outcome and growth that can be achieved from it.  In 2010, during a post NBA Championship game-clincher interview, Los Angeles Laker, Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace said he wanted to thank “my doctor, Dr. Sandy, my psychiatrist.  She really helped me relax a lot.  Thank you so much.”   People thought he was crazy.  Literally.  Who thanks their therapist on national T.V.?  I commended him and thought what he said was brave and genuine.

Therapy is that thing you never discuss in public.  It is something that is talked about in hushed tones.  Or on daytime talk and court shows.  “Normal” people don’t go to therapy.  If they are going, they certainly don’t tell anyone.  Entering therapy is like joining “Fight Club”.  The first rule is that you don’t talk about therapy.  Which is why there is still such a stigma.  What people don’t tell you, is that when you find the mental health professional who can help you tap into your greatest power source- yourself, there is a sense of accomplishment and peace.  It isn’t easy.  These days, the mental health profession is saturated with self-help, life coaching, counseling and relationship gurus who all seem to have found the secret to living your best life.  The truth is, the cleverest Facebook and Instagram memes won’t push you to your greater self.  There is hard work involved.  Every professional may not be well aligned with the kind of work and guidance you need.  So finding that person, or method, that gets you over your proverbial hump is something to cheer about.

I remember the first time my therapist said he was proud of me, it made me feel proud of me too.  Here is someone who has heard the most intimate details of my life from an objective viewpoint and he saw growth in me!  I was floored.  Yes, whatever brings you to therapy may be hard or hurtful.  You may feel as though you need it.  But the secret, sweet spot of personal growth counseling is when you decide you want it.  When you are no longer crying in every session, instead you have good news to share.  When the “crises” is over.  When you encounter the precipice of your healed self and your compassion and patience for yourself and others is more tangible.  It is simply wonderful.  If more people knew this “secret”, that a healthy mental “diet” can be measured similar to hitting the gym three times a week or cutting back on sugar, it would be much harder to get in for your favorite appointment time.