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Who Needs Therapy?

We all have something. I can remember my earliest memories of anxiety way back in elementary school, even before my parents had announced their divorce or a school rumor revealed to me the tragic death of my best friend. Domestic violence, parenting nightmares, and suicidal depression are not unfamiliar to my extended family. I have watched my friends struggle with chronic pain, body image issues, and infertility. Sadness, anger, and fear are universal human experiences. You don’t have to look long to find anybody fighting something.


There’s a common misconception out there that therapy is only for the weak (those poor things that don’t have the wherewithal to manage life without training wheels), or the really crazy (because you might be crazy but you’re not that crazy, right?). In fact, it’s been assumed more than once that as a therapist I must surely work primarily with the severely mentally disturbed and the seriously misguided!


What is therapy, anyway? It’s a little hard to define because, depending on the definition you prefer, I think it can mean many things. Officially, therapy is a formalized clinical treatment for a variety of mental health and relational disorders. There are dozens of therapeutic theories, models, interventions, and techniques which licensed professionals are trained to understand and implement. As a therapist, I think therapy can also be traveling to your favorite vacation spot, creating a work of art, or sleeping in on the weekend. But my favorite definition of therapy is human connection. 


In his book The Gift of Therapy (2002), Irvin Yalom describes the relationship between therapist and client as that of “fellow travelers,” just two people whose life paths have crossed for a small amount of time and who decide to help each other out along the way. While each of these people may have their own unique sets of experiences, skills, shortcomings, and injuries, he emphasizes the lack of “us” and “them” in this paradigm; both people are on the same road, are in need of the same essential things, are fighting something, and have something worthwhile to share. Their coming together, however it may have happened, allows them the opportunity to know and be known, to learn and to teach, to give and to grow in the company of one another, to do for and with each other what they cannot do for themselves alone. I think Yalom’s description can expand beyond the therapist-client relationship and onto any relationship between two people – friends, siblings, parents and children, husbands and wives. When I think of therapy, I don’t imagine my office. I imagine this, wherever it can be found.


So, who needs therapy? Depending on your definition, I think we all do. We all need the company of a fellow traveler, and we all can be that company for someone else. Because no human being lives life without putting up a fight, each and every one of us has something to learn, and something to give. We all have something. 


 

Savannah Citron, LMFT - Associate


I aim to create a therapeutic experience that is collaborative, creative, and compassionate by combining the best of evidence-based practice with the firsthand, real-time experiences of the human heart, mind, and soul. Together our goal will be to learn, to heal, and to hope.



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