"Other People Have Bigger Problems"
On numerous occasions, I have worked with individuals who worry about taking up space in my practice. "Other people have bigger problems" is a refrain I sometimes hear. Or, "I'm sure there are other people who need this more than I do." In my experience, the people who say this have a tendency to be such giving, generous people that they sometimes lose sight of their own needs. They mistake self-care for selfishness. Often my perception as a psychologist is that the people who are concerned about this have the potential to benefit greatly from therapy. Objectively speaking, there is usually someone out there who has it worse off than you might. But I don't think the question of who should be in therapy comes down to "Whose pain is the greatest?" As one of my clients put it, the question may be more aptly stated as "Does the pain hurt relative to me?" That is, your subjective experience of your emotions is the best guide. If you feel as though you are struggling, then therapy is warranted. I would be remiss not to also mention that you don't have to be struggling to come to therapy. In fact, the argument could be made that the whole premise of this post is fundamentally faulty. People come to therapy for many different reasons, including gaining insight, achieving goals, overcoming fears, resolving conflicts, and learning new habits to name just a few. The reasons are myriad, and suffering is by no means a prerequisite. Perhaps an even better measure than feeling as though you are struggling is simply interest in engaging in the process. Are you interested in therapy or struggling or possibly both? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-222-6436. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation.