Thrive, Don’t Just Survive: The Power of Therapy in Everyday Life

Thrive, Don’t Just Survive: The Power of Therapy in Everyday Life


Therapy can be appropriately defined as a therapeutic alliance- a relationship- that you develop with your therapist over some time. This alliance is essential for the individual to explore his/her innermost experiences of emotions, thoughts, experiences and so on. These innermost experiences are explored to navigate the relationship with the ‘self’, introspect on our experiences to gain insight and also to overcome the difficulties of life through healthy mechanisms. 

This therapeutic alliance is connected with our entire social sphere. It is the missing link to progress in a whole range of areas of life, as workers, as leaders, as family, and as community members. It helps unlock the potential for a deeper and more self-aware approach to our daily lives. Being in touch with our inner reality while navigating the challenges of the outer world, thus creating a perfect balance between the both, offers us hope. 

According to Hyderabad-based Senior Clinical Psychologist Rita Roy, Therapy is important for everyone, helping us to achieve mental health goals. Just as we know that physical health requires exercise and a balanced diet, the mind also needs certain things to stay healthy. In today’s world, with all its stress and complexities, our minds need as much care as our bodies. The mind requires regular exercise and attention, and if an individual can’t manage that on their own—perhaps because the stress and complexities are overwhelming-that’s where a professional’s help is needed and therapy comes in. Therapy is a treatment for the mind.

Societal Obstacles to Accessing Therapy

Even in this fast-paced world with information and awareness available, misconceptions exist among people about what therapy means and what happens in a therapy session. Society believes that therapy is for people who are mentally ill and especially people for whom nothing better can be hoped for due to their severe conditions.

Not recognizing therapy as the need of the hour for individuals facing challenges in their everyday lives, to help them navigate through their experiences, is where we have failed collectively as a society. The most important factor to consider here is the growth of the collective well-being of society as a whole. Society’s perception also includes the cultural factors that exist, where an individual is expected to be physically, mentally and emotionally strong, never his vulnerable self.

We have been conditioned since our childhood to act in certain acceptable ways, whereas the unacceptable ways lead to shame and fear. There exists a rigidity and unacceptance of vulnerability in accepting one’s innermost experiences which is the result of most of our conditioning. Thus, comes emotionally dysregulated, physically ill and weak-willed individuals. 

Importance of Starting therapy on time: 

Starting therapy early- and by early, it is meant, before the escalation of an individual’s condition or symptoms- can make a significant difference in one’s journey towards mental and emotional well-being. Therapy equips us to develop techniques to manage stress and navigate through life challenges with emotional stability.

It helps in identifying unhealthy coping mechanisms, for example, substance use or self-destructive behaviours. It then assists in replacing them with healthier alternatives, providing a path to mental wellness with a fresh perspective. Individuals tend to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their thoughts, and behaviors which allows for effective living through personal growth and improved decision-making

When You Should Seek Therapy

  • If you’re constantly feeling down, anxious, or angry, and it’s impacting your daily life, that’s a sign to seek support. 
  • If you’re feeling directionless or unsatisfied in your personal or professional life, it might be time to explore new paths. 
  • If you’re finding it hard to juggle stress and daily tasks, it’s important to seek ways to manage them effectively. 
  • If you’re turning to harmful habits to cope, it’s important to address this behaviour.
  • Major life changes like breakups, job loss, or moving can be tough to navigate alone.
  • Struggles in relationships with loved ones or colleagues can take a toll on your well-being. 
  • Unexplained physical symptoms like ongoing pain or sleep troubles may have underlying emotional causes. 
  • Feeling stuck in negative thoughts or low self-esteem can affect your mental health.
  • Feeling hopeless or lacking a sense of purpose can impact your overall well-being and quality of life. 

Get the best out of Therapy: 

To get the best out of therapy, it becomes essential to show up regularly, engage fully with your therapist and do the work they ask you to do, like experiments in behaviour modification, worksheets, or other exercises. It is relatively easy to hide parts of yourself and not admit the emotions one is feeling, but it becomes essential to be open and face the things one fears the most. The alliance that is between you and your therapist is the major factor in getting a positive outcome, so you need to have confidence in your therapist. 

The Initial Phase

The first part of your therapy session will involve an initial assessment which allows the therapist to gather essential information about your mental health, personal background and current challenges. It may involve discussions around your family dynamics, medical history, previous therapy experiences and any specific concerns you may have. Along with this information, the therapist may start the initial steps to the journey of your therapeutic alliance – a bond – by creating a safe, trusting environment where rapport can be established effectively.

The Process

The therapist will eventually develop a treatment plan collaboratively with you which will outline your goals, the strategies that will be used throughout the therapeutic journey and the techniques that will be employed. Your journey may include various therapeutic approaches like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, Art therapy, and Relational Counseling, depending on the nature of your concerns. Each approach will be explained to you by your therapist along with how it can help you improve your well-being and overcome difficulties. 

Growth is undoubtedly challenging and takes time. However, your progress should be tracked wherein you observe the improvements in your life. When individuals commit to attending therapy regularly, they start to notice a positive change in their mood, a stronger sense of connection in their relationship, and more clarity in terms of recognizing unhelpful thinking patterns. 

Read more: How does Client-Centred Therapy work?

What brings you here today to therapy?

For individuals seeking therapy, it is first and foremost very important to understand your ‘why’ for going to therapy. A common question that a new client is asked is ‘What brings you here today to therapy?’. While it is not necessary to have a detailed list of concerns and goals, it is always helpful to know the general reason why you might be seeking therapy. A simpler approach is to take a moment to ask yourself: What thoughts, emotions, or behaviours are bothering you and impacting your daily life? Also, consider how you envision feeling, thinking, and acting after working with a therapist.

It’s also important to have realistic expectations about therapy, especially the first session. Therapy is not a quick fix and you won’t discover solutions in your first session. Furthermore, while you’ll begin to express yourself during the session, it won’t be until later sessions that the therapist knows you well enough, and you feel comfortable enough to go deeper into what you express.

Read More: The Essential Role of Counselling and Therapy in Mental Wellness

While you are engaged in the process difficult emotions may come up and sometimes, opening up about certain difficulties and emotions that have been felt may feel challenging. However, the inside of a therapist’s office is a judgment-free zone, where acceptance and confidentiality are attained and paid respect to. It is built to promote the client’s psychological safety, thus diminishing the fear of ridicule or shame. 

According to Assistant Professor Department of Clinical Psychology, Dr. Anwesha Mondal, “Allowing clients to express their emotions, including crying, is important. It creates a safe space where they can release pent-up feelings and experience catharsis. So, if a client becomes emotional during a session, it’s beneficial to allow them to express those emotions without judgment and acknowledging these emotions in a therapy session by the therapist is also important as it facilitates the progress of therapy.”

Open it up!

Your progress needs to be open and honest to your therapist about how you feel, especially about what makes you feel embarrassed or ashamed. For your therapist to help, they need to know what you’re experiencing. All therapists are ethically bound to safeguard the information you share with them, thus emphasizing confidentiality. Other than a few rare circumstances, such as if they believe you may harm yourself or others, they can’t talk about you to anyone else without your permission. 

Remember that this is for you and therapists are there to be a support system. It is normal to be nervous about something new. Remind yourself that this will help you to feel better long term.” – Jaclyn Gulotta, PhD, LMHC

What to Expect When You Start Therapy 

Some sessions can be challenging; after all, you are opening yourself up and getting in touch with raw emotions and experiences. 

“It is normal to cry during the first session. Crying is a great release for the body and should not be seen as a weakness. We are all on a unique emotional journey that requires various emotions. Crying should be normalized in therapy and life in general.” – Adria Hagg, LCSW 

Generally speaking, therapy feels safe and a lot like a relief, in the sense that it helps you develop more adaptive ways to cope with life. One of the main aims of therapy is to help you recognize and label your emotions, regardless of the type of therapy or therapist you have. This process helps expand your emotional vocabulary. 

As you delve into your past to understand how it has shaped you, you may find yourself facing more questions than answers. It’s normal to wonder how your experiences have impacted who you are today, and it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers immediately. Therapy is a gradual journey, and it’s natural for some aspects to require time and reflection to understand fully. 

Starting therapy shows that you’re committed to learning more about yourself. Even though it can be tough at times, it’s a step toward becoming a happier and stronger person. For many people, the first therapy session is just the beginning of a journey toward a better and more resilient self. 

What to Do After Your First Therapy Session 

After your first session, it can be a good practice to begin to introspect how you feel, how you think therapy went, and what you think changed for you in that session. Taking time to reflect is a good way to retain the therapy session after it is over and think about how to apply any breakthroughs you may have had. 

Read More: Understanding Grief Therapy And Its Interventions

How do we know what we know about Therapy? 

Humans exist in an ecosystem- existing amongst other beings consisting of individual beliefs, attitudes and perspectives. Humans need to belong in this ecosystem- the community of knowers- and hence it becomes essential to conform to the general knower’s perspectives. There is essentially nothing wrong with it. Considering we need other people to validate our existence, however, the world is becoming more and more globalized as well as individualistic. It becomes important to exist on our own, find ourselves, and validate our own experiences. It’s essential to understand that you are an individual with unique needs, experiences and expectations, paving the path of self-fulfilment and thriving to achieve your full potential.

  • Peterson, T. J. (2023, April 26). How to Prepare for Your First Therapy Session. 
  • Cutsad. (2023, February 4). Signs it’s time to start therapy.
  • Meditopia. (2024, April 16). Signs It’s Time to Start Therapy. 4.
  • Hagerty, K. (2023, January 15). How to Start Your Therapy Journey.

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