Wouldn’t you like to understand why you do the things you do? Sometimes things are easy to work out, you got burned once in a situation and so you don’t open yourself up to that situation ever again. But often the reasons why we do things the way we do is complex and hidden.

People tend to think of therapy as a methodology for coping with an issue; perhaps when a person gets stuck on some event and can’t move on. But there is another way of seeing the help that a professional can bring.

The decathlon

Athletes have a natural skill in their single discipline. But for a moment imagine a decathlete. No one is the best at 10 sports. You can’t run as fast as a 100meter sprinter and throw the javelin as well as a javelin gold medalist and hurdle better than the hurdlers. It would be crazy to even try.

To win, a decathlete pulls together a holistic strategy which acknowledges their strengths and looks at the comparative strengths of the competition.

But they don’t do it alone. From the beginning, even at school levels, the variables are too complex. Initially, they might work this out with a sports teacher, but if they are any good they will work this out with their coach or trainer.

Life is like a decathlon

There’s work, there’s happiness, children, the need for money, the need for emotional support and love, there’s looking after aged parents and we try to do it all without degenerating into a lump of quivering jelly.

This is when seeing therapy as a tool for development, not to fix, makes sense.

Therapy is the safe place where you can try other strategies

Lots of people want to be a different sort of parent to their children than their parents were to them. The problem is parents are your only role model. You’ve never seen it done any other way. Discussing child rearing with a qualified psychologist is a great place to start.

If you know you need to be assertive at work but you’d sooner face a pit of rattlesnakes, then finding a way to be emphatic and trying it out somewhere safe is a great start.

At a simplistic level making a partnership work, whether it is a business partnership or a romantic partnership, you have to find a way to deal with conflict. If you wait for it to arise over a real issue there is the potential for damage. If you’ve dealt with the possibility in advance, you stand a chance of resolving the conflict and strengthening the relationship at the same time.

Is it so bad to have an hour a week to yourself?

A lot of us engage in introspection but we can run ourselves in circles. At some point, there has to be a conclusion. Working with a therapist will help you get to the ‘aha’ moment faster than you would alone.