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FORUMS > Mind, Body & Soul - a Jewish Press/Nefesh International Collaboration
Replying to Topic: Why Seek Therapy? An Introduction to Mind, Body & Soul
Created On 7/24/13 5:54 PM by JewishPress


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JewishPress
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7/24/13 5:54 PM
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(Originally appeared in May 2013 issue of Mind, Body & Soul)

By Lisa Twerski, LCSW


Over the years, working as a psychotherapist, it’s become very clear to me that seeking help is hard. There are many things that make this so. One of the main obstacles that gets in people’s way is their resistance inspired internal voice saying, “I don’t need professional help, things aren’t so bad.” Sometimes that’s actually true. A professional isn’t needed. The problems could be handled on his or her own, or by talking it through with a smart friend, or by reading something on the matter that helps educate the person in making the necessary change, or in how to deal with the challenge they face. Sometimes, however, someone is convincing themselves that they can handle their issue on their own, they talk to people, they read about the subject, they tell themselves or perhaps others that they “are working on it.” But really, it’s not true, they aren’t or can’t and they need professional help.

The question then becomes, how can I know if I’m the person who needs professional help, or I’m the one who could ‘self help?’ It seems like they could be the same. That’s where I think this insert is helpful. Perhaps you’ve been unhappy or unsatisfied with something in your life, and you see an article here or in a past issue, that addresses that problem. If you’ve never read up on the issue, or tried to address it in anyway, this is a first step. If you have done some reading or talking on the subject to people, look with a fresh set of eyes. Eyes that are ready to evaluate whether you can truly do this on your own. Beyond raising your awareness, or crystallizing your thoughts, what does reading the article do for you? Are you now able to utilize the insights, education or observations in the article in a practical way? Perhaps you want even more information, so this article which offers you a glimpse, now helps you see that there is what to investigate and read up on, so you do. With more information, are you then able to make change in a practical way, so that you feel the problem or issue, lessening or abating?

Therapy isn’t a smooth or linear process either. When someone enters therapy they often want to know, “how long will this take?” That is almost never clear. What is clear, is that when someone steps back and looks at themselves and the process in increments of time, they should see that even if it hasn’t been a smooth trajectory, overall they are better off than when they started, and that they are continuing to move in the right direction. The same holds true as a litmus test for trying the self help method. Having done this on your own, do you look and say things are overall improving? Or, with all the reading, talking to smart people and working on it yourself, are things basically where they have been all along with only brief improvements, that eventually fall away?'? If the latter holds true, that is how you know, as hard as it may be, that you need to ask for professional help.

Lisa Twerski, LCSW, has been working with victims of domestic violence for over twenty years. She maintains a private practice in Brooklyn and lectures locally and nationally on many subjects including domestic abuse, marriage, and dating. She has recently published a book entitled, “I’m So Confused, Am I Being Abused: Guidance for the Orthodox Spouse and Those Who are Trying to Help?”


Edited: 7/24/13 at 5:55 PM by JewishPress
 
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