Why You Should Go to a Therapist at Least Once Before You Turn 30

I’ve thought about this entry for a while now, and partially thanks to a good conversation I had the other day with a friend, I think it’s ready. Below are a few reasons why I think it’s a good idea for everyone to go see a therapist at least once before turning 30.

  1. You can stop disdaining therapists and people who go to therapists. I went to two therapists for a few months each in my mid-20s. I had a really hard time doing that because up until that point I had really looked down on the profession and the “type” of person who needed therapy (I put that in quotes to show my previous ignorance). I thought people were weak for going to therapy and that therapists preyed on the weak. But that’s not at all true. It really isn’t. If you feel that way at all, go see a therapist for a month and you’ll understand.
  2. You can stop using your friends and significant others as therapists. We all have things we’re working through. Every day, all the time. Pobody’s nerfect, as Pam would say. And we all deal with that stuff in different ways–there’s a spectrum of externalization and internalization. For people who externalize their processes and need to talk out their issues, it’s very easy to turn to friends and significant others. To a certain extent, that’s okay. But if they develop into ongoing discussions, you haven’t realized it, but you just turned your friend or husband or wife into a therapist. And that’s not their job. That’s not their role. If might be really difficult to realize that’s what you’re doing until you talk to a therapist and realize how you’ve been using the people around you as your therapists.
  3. You can recommend it to someone who really needs it. Not everyone needs ongoing therapy. But sometimes you might see that someone in your life could really benefit from therapy, and soon. If you haven’t been to a therapist, then who are you to suggest that to them? Going to a therapist–even for a short time–gives you the perspective and clout to offer that suggestion (tactfully) to someone you know who really needs it. Consider this a way to make a hugely positive impact on a loved one’s life.
  4. You can vastly improve the success rate of your marriage…even before the wedding. Especially before the wedding, actually. One of the top three indicators for a successful marriage is if you see counseling as a couple before getting married. It’s a chance for you to put a lot of things on the table and make sure you’re making the right choice. The article I read suggested that all couples do this even if they’re perfectly happy before getting married. It’s such a high indicator of success that if you truly want your marriage to work out, it’s a no-brainer.

Perhaps it’ll help my case that this is coming from someone (me) who did not have a good experience with therapy. I saw the value, but I really struggled with the idea that it’s to the therapist’s financial benefit not to help me solve my problem. Because the longer I’m in therapy, the more money they make. Sure, it’s unethical, but therapists are human too.

Despite that, I think the reasons above state a pretty solid case for everyone to experience at least a taste of therapy before turning 30. What do you think?

Oh! And I captured my cat doing something that I’ve never been able to get on camera before. Watch the work-friendly 17-second video here. It’s pretty amazing.