Walking into a psychology clinic for therapy, you might think ‘I’m here to get the crazy out of me’, or ‘people are going to judge me in a really harsh light if they find out’. We know how it feels. Clients always tend to put the notion of therapy into such l right that makes it seems that they need it because something is gravely wrong with their psyche. however, the true notion of therapy is something that differs from this misconception that individuals often develop, as they enter the realm of objectivity create by a therapist. When therapists begin the process, and let it evolve progressively as time passes by, clients may begin to realize that the processes that go towards making them reframe their environments in ways that are better for them are not all that ‘extreme’, ‘complicated’ or ‘worthy or harsh judgment’.

Therapy doesn't always get as intense as it seems. It is often a gradual, mellow process. Image: Peter Birkett

Therapy doesn’t always get as intense as it seems. It is often a gradual, mellow process.
Image: Peter Birkett

Processes like Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy are based on simple theories that focus on reframing beliefs. Rather than telling clients what is inherently wrong with their thinking patterns, a more subtle, gradual approach is taken by professionals in order to slowly bring to light the little ‘silly mistakes’ that individuals make in their daily lives when they think about the simplest situations and draw the harshest, most catastrophic inferences from them. As the process begins to take effect, there is a light-bulb moment in a client’s mind, making them think ‘Hey! Maybe i’m just framing this situation wrongly! There’s a more level-headed way to think about this, and adopting it will probably make life a little easier for me!’ Thus, as compared to the complex process is is often made out to be, therapy is a lot more mellow in actuality. It slowly morphs and re-aligns beliefs to more adaptive, suitable forms rather than those which cause unnecessary stress.

We sometimes have thoughts that plague us. There's no point in thinking that someone will judge you for trying to dispel them. Image: Tony Riff on Flickr

We sometimes have thoughts that plague us. There’s no point in thinking that someone will judge you for trying to dispel them.
Image: Tony Riff on Flickr

For example, if someone goes into therapy saying that being criticized for their performance on a particular project at work makes them feel worthless, the first step a therapist would take would be to ask about the work environment that the person inserts themselves into daily. If the responses verge on indicating that the work environment is conducive, and that the person is able to cope up with the brunt of a 9 to 5 stint, then the probing towards identifying the belief of the individual that leads to this feeling of ‘worthlessness’ begins. On constantly being asked about this particular project where the individual’s performance was lackluster, the person will probably respond by saying that since they were unable to meet the expectations of their colleagues for this particular instance, they are absolutely worthless, and will never regain their trust. This is a situation where an individual exaggerates the consequences of a particular event in their mind, leading to a negative perception.

 

Here, the therapist would go on to ask whether their performance is up to the mark in other domains of work presently. He or she would say ‘Just because you weren’t able to put in an optimal effort that one time, does it mean that you’ve failed at your job completely?’. Thus, the individual begins to think, ‘Hey, I did mess up this one time, but it’s not like I’m absolutely incompetent because of one mishap. I’m still able to cope up with the brunt on other occasions! Maybe I’m not so useless after all..’. By slowly identifying an individual’s beliefs that cause them a certain form of stress, therapists are able to thus localize their efforts and pinpoint their theoretical knowledge towards particular domains that people engage with in their lives, enabling them to reframe their thoughts that manifest within these realms in much more favorable ways.

Rather than hesitating to ask for help from a professional because of the mental blocks that you may have about what therapy actually is, take the step towards understanding yourself better. It will help you realize that therapy is definitely not something that other people will judge you for.