Not everyone stays in psychotherapy forever. In fact, many people only need short-term treatment in order to address a specific issue or trauma. However, that doesn't mean that long-term psychotherapy is wrong for you! If you enjoy talking with a therapist on a regular basis and find that it helps you maintain your mental health, then there's no reason to stop.
Here are 3 reasons why it may be beneficial to stay in therapy even when things aren't acutely stressful:
1. No Judgement Zone
First, it can be helpful to have someone to talk to who is unbiased and objective. In our day-to-day lives, we are constantly interacting with people who have their own agendas and opinions. A therapist, on the other hand, is someone you can talk to without worrying about being judged or chronically misunderstood. They can certainly misunderstand you at times, however the difference between this occurrence in therapy and in day-to-day interactions is that therapists stick around and work to understand you, rather than the all too common experience of you feeling antagonized for the barrier in communication at first. Therapists can offer a fresh perspective on your situation and help you see things in a new light.
2. Stability and Consistency
Long-term psychotherapy can provide a sense of stability and consistency. In our fast-paced world, it can be easy to feel like things are constantly changing and we never have time to catch our breath. Having regular therapy sessions can help ground you and give you a chance to slow down and focus on what's really important. Whether you're going through a divorce, the death of a loved one, or a job loss - or even more positively regarded yet stressful life transitions - the momentum and rapport built over a stable and consistent therapeutic alliance can provide more personally tailored support and guidance.
3. Personal Growth
Finally, lifelong counseling can help prevent future problems from occurring. By talking about your experiences and emotions in therapy, you can learn how to better deal with difficult situations in the future. You may also come to understand yourself better and develop new coping skills that will serve you well throughout your life. Even when things are going well, there is always room for growth and change. If you view therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and how you relate to the world around you, it can be an invaluable experience.
No matter what your reason for seeking therapy, remember that there is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is that you find a therapist you feel comfortable with and who you feel can help you achieve your goals.
Sean O'Connor is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling in Scarsdale, NY.
Sean specializes in sports psychology and trauma informed counseling to helps adults and athletes overcome anger, depression, anxiety, PTSD and stress.
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