Just About Everyone Could Use Some Therapy
Written By: Mark Smith
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Most of you know of the local gun storeowner whose clever and famous line is "I don't want to make any money, I just LOVE to sell guns". I'm not writing this article to try to sell you something that you don't need. The purpose of "Relationship Jazz" is to attempt to rigorously challenge and shift the paradigms of as many people as possible towards openness to the tremendous value of effective therapy. I want to share what I believe are life-impacting truths about emotions, relationships, families, addictions, marriages, etc. because I believe they are going to be immensely helpful concepts to anyone who reads them with a truly open mind. The truth is that the vast majority of people aren't especially emotionally healthy. They are, in fact, dysfunctional, and yes, that very most probably does include YOU, my dear reader.
I believe that there is a very prevalent myth - that no matter how dysfunctional you childhood was, you can overcome it with education and determination. Even though the old man was a raging alcoholic if you have a high paying job, a beautiful house, an impressive education, an awesome car and a pretty little supportive wife then you feel you have overcome my childhood wounds with drive and superior intelligence. However, eventually the pretty little passive/supportive wife becomes angry and bitter. The marriage lacks depth, intimacy and equality because you are so heavily defended and controlling. That is when the myth gets exposed. Money, power and possessions do not equal emotional health or happiness.
What are the issues in your family history? What pain, trouble, problems, addictions, misfortune and imperfections have past from generation to generation in your family system? Do you know your family's history? Do you know who you are and where you have come from?
With Oprah and Dr. Phil constantly pounding the airwaves with therapy our culture is becoming much more open to the notion that therapy might actually be useful and helpful to many if not most people. A man's man can avoid all that "Oprah chick crap" pretty easily by being at work at 4:00pm, but then when he settles in to watch his manly Soprano's show on Sunday night what does he find but even Tony Soprano darkening the door of the therapist's office on a weekly basis for goodness sakes. Therapy is an incredibly booming business because almost everyone needs our services eventually and by the time they reach us they are extremely motivated to get to work.
How happy are you? How happily married are you? How connected are you to your kids? How well disciplined and well adjusted are your kids? How self-actualized are you in your job? How good of a job do you do in taking care of yourself? Where are you at spiritually? What are your addictive behaviors? What emotional wounds did you sustain during your childhood? What do you want to change about yourself? Effective therapy can help you significantly with all these areas of your life.
Just off the top of my head I can think of 35 ways that therapy can benefit people. If I had more room I think that I could probably come up with over 100. These aren't in any particular order of importance. In therapy one can: #1 gain a much greater understanding of one's self, #2 learn to become much more gracious and forgiving of one's own faults, #3 build self-esteem, #4 become a better parent, #5 learn how to not view life from a victim's perspective, #6 develop assertiveness skills, #7 learn to handle stress better, #8 learn to resolve conflict directly and non-reactively, #9 learn how to receive nurturing, #10 heal trust issues, #11 become less harsh and judgmental, #12 learn to become more accountable, #13 learn how to listen better, #14 make peace with your parents, #15 get guidance, #16 learn how to set effective boundaries, #17 gain emotional support while going through a divorce, #18 grieve the death of a parent or a spouse, #19 overcome addictive behavior, #20 increase emotional intimacy in your relationship, #21 gain the strength to leave an abusive relationship, #22 gain greater sensitivity to the needs of other people, #23 to learn to forgive a spouse who had an affair, #24 learn how to proactively attack life's problems, #25 learn how to become less controlling, #26 learn how to be much less defensive when confronted, #27 learn to develop a more equal and interdependent "team" quality in your marriage, #28 grow spiritually, #29 develop so much emotional intimacy in your marriage that your sex life becomes fantastic, #30 be more focused on your personal and career goals, #31 explore possible career changes, #32 have less anxiety and stress that effects and attacks your body so you are physically healthier, #33 gain an objective relational referee who almost always makes the right call in naming marital issues, #34 gaining a much more positive perspective about people, and #35 to learn to resolve issues that cause rage rather than just trying to control rage. As my dad would say, "that's not too shabby".
Does your spouse think that you might have a few things to work on? If you are a normal person then there is plenty to work on. That is all for this week - see you next time.
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