With the strong stigma in Asian communities and the lack of culturally informed care, it can be difficult to reach out for therapy if the benefits aren't clear and worthwhile. Below we outline the main 5 benefits you can have from therapy.
1. Recover from the past
We have all had hurtful experiences/events in our lives. It doesn’t matter how “bad” those experiences/events were. They impact us.
And, most of the time and for various reasons, we don’t fully recover from these experiences/events. We might have been told to not dwell on the past, focus on future, be grateful for what we have or we just don’t have the privilege (trying to survive in new country, immigration status, etc) to recover or we don’t have tools to recover or or all the above!
But as humans, we are resilient. To continue on, we develop coping strategies (disassociation, numbing, overwork, isolation, addiction, compartmentalization, codependence, etc) to deal with these events/experiences and to protect us from further hurt.
The problem is that these coping strategies don’t work perfectly and not permanently. They have consequences such as depressive symptoms, anxiety, inability to thrive, unsatisfying relationships, overflow of emotions, lack of purpose, etc.
The past continues to have a grip on you.
With the support of a skilled therapist, you can begin to recover from the past. The goal is to loosen and release the grip the past has on you so you can live more fully in the present.
2. Make better decisions
In therapy, you get to slow down, be with yourself, clarify your thoughts and feelings, access your emotional experience, see what’s really happening so you can make decisions more thoughtfully and consciously.
And, related to the first benefit, when the past isn't controlling, you make better decisions.
3. Have more satisfying relationships
We all have patterns of being and relating that get in the way of having more satisfying relationships.
You might have built a safety armor, afraid of intimacy.
You might be a people pleaser. smiling and saying yes to everything and everyone.
You might feel that you have to be in control, always.
You might have a certain role in your family that you resent.
You might be the life of the party but rather be alone.
You might have difficulty communicating your needs.
You might be highly critical of others.
In therapy, you get to understand these patterns, examine them, and try new ways of being and relating that lead to more satisfying relationships.
4. Increase capacity to handle life's challenges
At the same time that you are recovering from the past, making better decisions, changing patterns of being and relating, you are gathering tools, increasing your ability and capacity to handle what the future might hold.
5. Break the generational cycle
Sometimes, our difficulties didn’t start with us.
Many of our parents and ancestors experienced traumatic events: wars, torture, poverty, loss of culture/family/community, violence, racism, exploitation…
Research has shown that unprocessed traumatic experiences not only impact the person directly affected but they impact future generations through learned behavior and genetics.
If not addressed, the effects of trauma keep passing from generation to generation.
With therapy, there is an opportunity to break that cycle for the current and future generations.
If you are interested in learning more about generational trauma, below are some good articles on it.
A private practice of Yin J. Li MA LMFT
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