I know that the idea of therapy has crossed your mind on more than one occasion. Perhaps it was when you were lying in bed wondering if you will ever break free from…. Perhaps it was after a particularly strenuous family visit, where certain painful realities about yourself and your family started becoming clear. Or maybe it was after a social gathering where you so desperately wanted to make contact with the people sitting next to you, but you couldn’t muster up the courage. Whatever the issue, if you considered therapy and then backed down because you wondered “what would my friends or family think about me if they knew I was seeing a therapist”, then this letter is addressed to you.
If it’s ok with you, I would like to ask you a question. What are your thoughts about guys who go to therapy? Please take a moment to think about this. How would you view your friend if you knew he was in therapy?
There are some men (and women) who see the world split into two categories: the successful and the unsuccessful. The successful are those men who get ahead in life and do not need help from anybody. The unsuccessful are those men who struggle to move forward. They are the ones who need help, support and therapy.
Since I have yet to meet a perfect person, who leads a smooth, struggle-free life, I would like to propose an alternative worldview that is far more honest and productive. People can be divided into two categories. There are the people who possess the inner strength and honesty to face their foibles and struggles and who take the necessary steps needed to move forward and grow. Then there are other people who have not yet accessed the inner strength needed to honestly face their weaknesses. Instead they feign flawlessness in an attempt to convince themselves and others that they do not possess any significant imperfections.
Obviously, not every issue requires therapy and therapy is not the answer to every problem. However, an issue that is getting in the way of you living a meaningful and fulfilling life deserves to be dealt with. If you decide that entering therapy is the right step for you now, then I encourage you to be proud of yourself and your courageous decision. How others view therapy is not in your control, but how you view therapy is. Developing emotional health and a robust sense of self in today’s world is not an easy task, and therapy is one of the available tools to help achieve this. A man who avails himself of therapy (or any other tool) in service of achieving these goals has nothing to be ashamed of and much to be proud of.
I would like to leave with one final quote to mull over: “Don’t judge your insides by another person’s outsides.” (source unknown)
It is my sincere hope and prayer that my words bring you closer to making the decision that is right for you.
Wishing you all the best,
Raphael Schondorf M.Sc. is an individual and family therapist who maintains a private practice in Modiin Illit and Yerushalayim. He specializes in the treatment of men, teens and preteens and offers parenting consultation. He can be reached at 052-765-3978 or [email protected]. For more information please visit www.frumtherapistisrael.com.