Do Really Have to Go to Therapy?
September 22, 2011 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Do I really need to go to therapy or is this something I can do on my own? Go ahead, MetaFilter, talk me OUT of going to therapy!

I'm in probably one of the best places I have been in my whole life emotionally. But, I'm still having some lingering self-esteem issues (seriously, sometimes I don't understand why people like me), body image issues and minor OCD-thought issues.

I've done therapy before and found it enormously helpful when I was really in a rock/hard place situation, but I kind of look at this as polishing up a dusty jewel as opposed to finding the jewel by breaking a rock into pieces. I don't think I need the full pick on this one, but just the polishing cloth.

My gut tells me that I can probably do this myself rather than needing professional help. But, since this is the place to recommend therapy, is this a situation where therapy wouldn't be necessary?
posted by Leezie to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My gut tells me that I can probably do this myself rather than needing professional help.

Which method is faster and/or will give more thorough results? Pick that one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on September 22, 2011

If you already have a therapist that you are comfortable with there's nothing wrong with going for a session or three.
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:47 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Therapy is guided self-improvement by a professional. Think of it this way: you were out of shape and paid a trainer to help you get in shape. The trainer helped you get in shape, and now you're in shape and know how to stay in shape. A few things are still bugging you: you're not as strong as you'd want to be, maybe you've got flab where you don't want flab, whatever. You know, generally, how to fix these things and what it'll take to fix them. Is paying a trainer still useful?

On the one hand, if you're back in shape, you probably know by know what to do to keep up. On the other, the trainer knows how to do it better than you do -- they are a professional after all -- and can help you summon the motivation to do it. Only you can decide if mastering your technique a little more, and having that external push to go for it is worth the time and money.
posted by griphus at 1:48 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

You don't have to stick with therapy if it turns out to be unnecessary. You will be the one doing the work in there, same as outside of it.
posted by Adventurer at 1:49 PM on September 22, 2011

Best answer: Well, there's always the option of trying for yourself first, and seeing how far you get, then choosing to go down the therapy route if it's necessary. If you have the tools you need to fix yourself, then use them. If they don't work, then therapy might help you find some new tools.
posted by Solomon at 1:50 PM on September 22, 2011

Really not enough information to make an informed decision. Given what is posted I would guess the self esteem issues can be worked out on your own unless they interfere with major life activities such as socializing, maintaining intimate relationships, work, etc. If the OCD is under control and only a nuisance and not a problem it may well continue like that unless there is a spike in internal/external stress. Since OCD is significantly associated with your wiring are you taking meds--that may well be sufficient for long term stability. If it is being managed through primarily CBT/other talk therapies I would guess you are at a slightly greater risk of temporary exacerbation(s). Regardless, congratulations and I would hope that leading a life of successes/failures/bumps/accomplishments/recoveries may be all the polishing you need.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:54 PM on September 22, 2011

Of course you *can* handle it yourself. Anyone who is able to get out of bed and function and doesn't want to kill himself *can* function without therapy.

Say you sprained your ankle. You *could* ice it and just wait for it to get better. You won't die if you don't see a doctor. But that doesn't make it pleasant to walk around on a sprained ankle. If you think therapy will help, and you can afford it, there's little downside to going.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:55 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's actually some research that suggests that going into therapy when things are going relatively well leads to decreases in measures of satisfaction. In other words, there seems to be a clinical cut-off, below which therapy is helpful, and above which it is less helpful (or maybe mildly harmful). We can't really know which side of that cut-off you're on, but you seem to be saying that you're somewhere close to it on one side or the other.

I guess my question to you if I were your former therapist would be: Are there skills you learned (ways of thinking, strategies for reframing, a theoretical perspective) the last time we worked together that you could use now in lieu of formal treatment?

You can always go into therapy.
posted by OmieWise at 2:30 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Since you don't seem to be in danger of damaging your life or harming yourself, I would try working on it yourself first. You might be more invested in the results if you arrived at them on your own. Also, self-esteem boost (so, win-win?)
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:51 PM on September 22, 2011

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