John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD

Asking for help doesn't make you weak...

Are you thinking about calling a therapist? What's stopping you?

Okay, you check your health insurance. Do you have a benefit for this? You probably do. But what if you prefer to pay out of pocket –- can you afford it? Or maybe you check your schedule –- how are you ever going to find the time to go to therapy?

You have your reasons why you postpone the call. You tell yourself you're still thinking about it. Okay, fair enough.

But here's a question: is there any chance
pride is getting in the way?

Easy now, I'm not trying to offend. I'm just asking.

We live in a culture that values self-reliance. Americans are a can-do people. And that's a good thing, right?

Sure it is. Unless you're overwhelmed. Unless you're depressed out of your mind and you're struggling to function. Unless a relationship problem is preoccupying you to the point where it is difficult to focus on anything else. Unless you're being crippled by anxiety.

Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is know your limits. If you have a toothache, you go to a dentist. If you have a serious illness, you go to a physician. If you have an emotional concern, you go to a therapist.

Relying on experts, people who have more knowledge and experience than you do, just makes good sense. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can do it all. No one can. From time-to-time, we all need the help of other people.

Here's one of the secrets of adulthood: human being were
meant to help each other. Joining forces with other people almost always makes us stronger. It makes us better problem solvers, better creators, better builders, better people.

There is little doubt that self-reliance is a good thing. But even a good thing can be taken too far.

Seeking help does not make you weak. It makes you smart.

Cell Phones and Therapy

Don't mix.

Therapy won’t help you unless you are present in your sessions. It might be tempting to keep your phone out, but don’t do it. Studies have shown that just having your phone within reach will distract you, even if you don’t check it.

Is there anything that can't wait? For instance, a family or work situation that requires you to be potentially available on short notice. If there is, tell me about it and we’ll make an exception to the rule. But otherwise, silence your phone, put it away, and let yourself have a reprieve from notifications and interruptions.

The focus of therapy should be on you, not your messages.