While the holidays are meant to be a joyful time spent with loved ones, for some it is a very emotionally difficult time. For some, the holidays amplify feelings of loneliness and disconnection from a partner, family members, or oneself. You may be experiencing these feelings and have been coping by turning toward destructive behaviors like hostility or conflict, alcohol or drug use, overeating or under-eating, not sleeping or sleeping too much, excessive spending, or isolating yourself. You may be feeling stressed and reluctant to fully open up, yet wanting to make a change. Instead of spending more money on temporary fixes, why not give yourself a lasting gift that will transform how you feel about yourself, your relationships, and your future. The gift is therapy.
Here are some ways that therapy is helpful:
1. Therapy provides support and guidance to help you take your life in a new direction.
Change is hard! It takes courage to imagine a better life and actually do something about it. The first step is taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change your situation. Therapy helps you gain insight about yourself, allowing you to heal and grow so you can move toward self-improvement and a more fulfilling life. Counseling provides the support and guidance you deserve.
2. Therapy is the place where you can open up without fear of being misunderstood or judged.
How often do you avoid sharing your thoughts and feelings for fear of being judged? How often do you share your thoughts and feelings only to be disappointed by the responses? Do you feel ignored, feel belittled, or does the advice you receive do nothing to help you? Therapy is a chunk of time to focus on you and feel free to openly express yourself without knee-jerk or careless reactions. Imagine feeling fully accepted and validated while being thoughtfully challenged to grow as a person.
3. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits.
Does therapy require that you invest your time and money? Yes. Will it provide you with an experience that will prove beneficial well beyond its completion? Definitely! Therapy gives you the tools you need to learn self-reflection and avoid triggers and damaging patterns whenever you are faced with a difficult situation. It also gives you the confidence to be yourself, which is the key to meaningful relationships.
So this holiday season, instead of suffering silently amid a frenzy of played-out holiday jingles and shopping sprees, give yourself permission to be self-oriented and let therapy help you focus on making yourself jolly. Because you deserve to be happy.
Ilianna Luna is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner and Director of Happy Home Therapeutic Services, a private practice center in Plantation, FL. Ilianna enjoys helping people see their lives in new ways with new possibilities.