No, not "everyone" needs to be in therapy

No, not "everyone" needs to be in therapy

Related to my last post about friendship, part of the hollowing out of friendships has been because of the professionalization of intimacy and the massive push for widespread therapy attendance. Seems like every influencer, podcast host, and Facebook ad is about how "everyone" can benefit from therapy and how everyone should go to therapy and even how it's probably a dealbreaker in a romantic connection if you don't go or want to go to therapy. This sounds like a cult to me, especially when every podcast host and Youtuber started mentioning being sponsored by BetterHelp a couple years ago.

I thought surely the woke-i-fication of the entire profession, which has produced things like "activist therapist" and other super dangerous ideologically driven "perspectives" would have gotten at least the Christians to wake up. I thought surely the demand for long-term, even lifelong, use of this "treatment" called therapy might have been a red fla. But it was so well packaged as necessary for building the life and relationships you want that I didn't think to question therapy behind my initial irks

The whole "everyone should do therapy" thing sounded like a cult to me before Wokism mangled the field, even before my last terrible experience in therapy. I'd had several others before this, so I was already souring on the whole enterprise even as I was studying to potentially provide therapy as a social worker (the more "liberated," "equitable," "anti-oppression" version of psychologists and therapists, so it was totally different). I stopped when I realized that forcing everyone into therapy, especially these days, wasn't make anyone nicer, happier, or better at relationships at all. As a book (that came out in 1992) has it, "We've had 100 years of psychotherapy and the world is getting worse."

So no, not everyone should go to therapy: if you're married to a cover narcissist who is so convinced that you are 100% of the problem in your marriage that he will say that to your face, then you will probably not benefit from going to therapy with him because he will likely manipulate the therapist into believing that you need to do more forgiving and he needs to do more "being himself." Ask me how I know.

If you've gone to therapy for six years and are monstrously articulate about your issues (which is actually a detriment more often than it is helpful. Ask me how I know.), you actually might not benefit from more talk therapy. I went to therapy for six years with the same therapist (after a total of 10 off and on with others) and didn't figure out until about a month ago the following:

1) I thought I was so good at hiding. The only person I've only ever been hiding from - with any success - is myself.

2) I am scared AF 100% of the time and have been living my life entirely from that motive.

3) I dissociated from my life so long ago that it's almost like I was never integrated and I still, after years of psychotherapy, have no idea how to reconnect to life, myself, or others.

4) I didn't know that I didn't understand my body until the end of last year.

5) Because I have felt like an outsider as long as I remember, I assume I won't fit in anywhere and have been acting accordingly for over three decades.

6) My greatest fears are dying alone under a bridge and being stupid.

That last one made me ugly cry for an hour when I realized it. Everyone knows me as super smart. I do the reading. I remember (not as well as I did before the anesthesia injury four years ago) the reading. I was told "you should know better" as the oldest child my whole life, so I made sure I did know better. Everyone knows me as super smart. Everyone but myself. The point is that I talked to a therapist, sometimes twice a week, for six years and didn't know any of that, let alone how to break the behavioral and thought patterns that get ingrained by those beliefs. Six years and thousands of dollars to not move even an inch closer to the life I actually want.

I know I'm just one person and that the plural of anecdote is not proof, but if you're someone who needs to hear this, it's okay if you're not in therapy. It's okay if you went to therapy and it made it worse and you don't want to go back. There are other ways to heal. There are other ways to pursue accountability, and they have a lot to do with us getting our collective ish together on this whole friendship thing.