Dear Carolyn • Sometimes I get frustrated by what seems the default solution to everything: therapy. (Not just you, but our society in general.) This morning I realized that "therapy" is really just code for: changes take time and a different perspective. I suppose sort of like in AA, where your "higher power" doesn't necessarily have to be God; or losing weight, little changes over time, two steps forward, one step back, carry on. Anyway, thought I'd share.
Dear Therapy Default • I think yours is a common impression but I'd be surprised if anything close to a majority of people sought therapy for their problems. Yet, many people spin their wheels for years on the "different perspective" element of change. And where are they going to get a brisk shove out of the mud if they reject the idea of therapy out of hand? A sharp friend often works, if you have one and are receptive to sharp messages. Some people are able to get out of their muck without any outside assistance, but others aren't. As a rule, I suggest therapy when I see spinning wheels, and skip suggesting it where I see self-motivated progress. Still, good therapists can even help those who help themselves, by serving the basic purpose of listening uninterrupted to a situation (as a client presents it).