You know how it’s very common in Egypt to say to a mentally unbalanced person things like: ‘you’re just sad now’, ‘it’s a problem that will pass’, ‘just talk to a close person you’re comfortable with’, ‘you’re going to make it a bigger deal if you go to therapy’ and the priceless blank stare response when you tell someone you see a therapist.
The Real Misconception around Therapy
Ever wondered why people refuse to go to talk therapy? It goes from “I’d rather talk to my friends”, “what good is talking going to do?” and “I’d feel weird talking to a stranger about this”, all the way to “therapists don’t care about you, they just sit there and listen to take your money”.
In order to normalize mental illness, you need to know why therapy isn’t ‘bad’ for you and how it’s not what you think it is.
“If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.”– Russell Wilson
Therapy is not only a professional method of treating a mental illness but a factor playing in a healthier lifestyle for anyone and everyone who wants it. It stimulates positive mental habits by regularly updating how your mindset is wired in your every day, making you stop, reflect and learn from the normal to be able to make use of the benefits, always improving and ensuring emotional and behavioral wellbeing. And with that comes strengthening learning and observational skills and the ability to recognize patterns in one’s life.
Therapy helps individuals overcome their difficult pasts and provides coping mechanisms that would prepare for what’s coming in the future. It can also be a method that makes people reach their goals and redefine their own purpose, which allows them to discover who they are. Therapists have the power to give a better outlook on life that leads to a sense of direction, making patients express their emotions and behaviors within the bounds of a safe environment. They turn the relationship they have with patients to one that yields personal growth.
Today’s Reality in Egypt
Today, a large number of Egyptian youth go to therapy and it is common in both mild and serious cases. However, according to Psychotherapist and IB Psychology Teacher Sarah El Meshad, most parents would not really support therapy when their child is ‘merely experiencing some distress’ but when the case is suicidal therapy, it’s what they hold onto the most. This branches out of fear, misconception, and distrust but is fixed when trust between the parent and therapist is achieved.
And today, therapy can also help the teenager deal with their parents as they are… And this is a form of empowerment to the teen as opposed to the over-victimization one is faced with on a daily basis. This only leaves me wondering – and hoping – that we get to the point where when I tell someone I’m seeing a therapist, I get a response similar to a shrug and a ‘good for you’. A smile wouldn’t hurt.
As the baseball shortstop Alex Rodriguez once said:
“Therapy can be a good thing – it can be therapeutic.”–Unknown
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