It feels like mental health professionals have been fighting forever to be heard and for universal awareness to exist. I for one believe that this fight must continue as this mission has not yet been accomplished. However, something interesting has happened; while not widespread, the idea that therapy is the chic or in-style thing to do these days has certainly been precedent. In countries such as Argentina and Mexico, psychoanalysis is part of an individual’s weekly routine. Females and males alike grab their coffees, suitcases and kids en route to the therapist’s office.
Adults, adolescents, couples and children diligently lay on the couch (so to speak) and spill their secrets and pains onto the shoulders of what they have learned to be the epitome of empathy. For these individuals, therapy is a topic at dinner parties and happy hours for they understand that there is no shame or stigma behind it. For them it is just as necessary as a physician, gym, spa or retreat where the backdrop is ultimate relaxation. You aren’t deemed crazy or unstable. Quite the contrary, in fact; it means you can afford the weekly mental massage and choose to make the most of it.
Here in the United States, I’ve had clients of all ages come into therapy because their relatives and friends suggested it, because their favorite celebrity showed his/her sessions on TV, or because “everyone is doing it these days.” Many of these clients do not present distress of any kind but simply pronounce their curiosity about therapy and its benefits - and guess what? They stay! They quickly realize that we are all fellow travelers of life’s tribulations and pains and will gain clarity from recanting our stories. They finally grasp therapy’s appeal and see through all the societal myths that have been created over the years. These new customers find themselves through the process, help improve their relationships, learn how to manage and treat their anxiety, depression or preexisting chronic mental illness and become more confident beings along the way.
This is a beautiful occurrence! Frankly, I don’t mind if individuals learn about therapy through a soap opera, book, scandalous piece of celebrity gossip or from their best friends; it is all the same to me. We therapists are waiting patiently with open arms and ears for we believe if only more people were intrigued and took the chance to explore therapy and its magic, this world would be far more colorful, delicate and in-tune with what truly matters.
Stephanie Dargoltz is a bilingual counselor who works at a private practice in South Florida with children, adolescents, and adults. Her interests include Sport Psychology/Counseling and plans to pursue these careers in the near future.