Does Therapy Eventually Make You Worse? (Spoiler Alert: My Opinion Is No)

August 26, 2017

I don’t know if anyone else wonders this, but I know I used to. And now that I openly talk about therapy, it’s something a couple of people have wondered aloud to me.

Does focusing on something every week mean that thing never dies? Are you just dwelling and never getting better?

Here’s kind of how I view it. [I know, I know. Yet another analogy is coming!]

When I first started therapy, I couldn’t really think about anything except xxual assault guy. He was in my nightmares. He was in my daydreams (or day-nightmares, I know those are not really a thing, but it sounds too nice to call them dreams of any kind).

I had to go to therapy because I needed someone to help me make sense of it.

So, if we see it as my brain is a window looking out at the whole world, it’s like someday completely covered it with grey. I could see practically nothing.

And then my therapist and I washed away parts of the grey… And the window became cleaner, and I was able to see more and more of the world. My window was starting to be functional again!

But. There are still parts of my window that have grey patches. And for the most part, during the week, I try not to fixate on those grey areas. I try to look around them. I can function with them. I am at the very least, functional now. But… How much nicer would it be if the window were totally clear? If the whoooole world became available to me again? There weren’t still some things I had to tiptoe around, since I’d be too “triggered” or what have you.

Now, do any of us have completely clean windows? I don’t know if that’s a truly possible thing. But I definitely feel like mine could be cleaner and that therapy helps with that. Sometimes, it feels painful to clean it off. It feels painful to focus on that grey. But I’d rather feel some intense pain now with the intention that it goes away, than some pain that never seems to subside.

I also will give the caveat that sometimes I learn something about myself in therapy, or a question comes up about some random deep-seeded belief or behavior I didn’t even realize I had that maybe throws me off balance, and makes me start to question and try to figure out parts of myself… I sometimes do maybe spend a liiiittle too much time ruminating on certain things. Not every little behavior I have needs to have an explanation or answer.

It’s kinda like, “Is that harming me in some way?” “If so, and I can’t quite figure out the root of that behavior, or why such and such feels a certain way, is there a way to figure out how to fix it without grasping at straws for why it is? If not, can we somehow get to the bottom of stuff?”

Sometimes it is a little hard. And I do maybe get a little over-analytical sometimes, but we can see that over the past 5 years of my blog. That’s not a specific therapy thing. That’s just a trait I have. …Wonder why I’m like that. (Haha. I’m just pulling your leg on overanalyzing, by overanalyzing (but I wouldn’t put it past me.))

Anyway, when I asked my therapist her thoughts (and I know she technically has bias because she is a therapist, but I still like her answer), she said that she believes that if something really activates an emotion in you, then you are activated whether you’re in therapy or not, so it’s best to work on it and figure it out. Therapy doesn’t activate what isn’t already activated. (If that makes sense… I didn’t describe it quite as eloquently as she did.)

So, anyway that’s my take (and to some extent, my therapist’s take) on this question. (If you have agreements, or disagreements, in the comments, chime on in!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?