Therapy is science based and incredibly valuable. Yet, far too often, many people find they are “afraid” of therapy in some way. Sometimes they’re afraid they’ll be forced to face a topic they want to avoid. Sometimes, they’re afraid they will be judged. But sometimes – and the subject of this blog post – they’re just afraid that therapy will seek to change something about who they are.
You Will Always Be You
The goal of therapy is not a personality transplant. It’s not to change who you are or determine that you need to be a different person in order to experience a better life. You’re always going to be yourself, and that’s a good thing. In fact, with therapy, you may even be MORE you. When the anxiety, depression, addiction, or other mental health challenges are gone, you’re going to feel more like you’re able to be yourself.
In therapy, what we do isn’t try to change you, but to work with who you are. We want to amplify the healthy aspects of yourself and reduce the maladaptive behaviors in line with you and who you are. We’re not going to change you because no one can or should change *you*. For example, if you’re an introvert, we are not going to suddenly try to make you an extrovert.
But – if an introvert struggles with social anxiety, and that anxiety stops the introvert from being more social in ways that they themselves want to be, we can learn skills to help them address the anxiety and learn to be more comfortable in social environments. This might lead to more extroverted functioning (meaning, you may find that you’re not as introverted as you thought as your fear of social situations decreases), but whatever ends up occurring is still going to be you.
Do You Know Yourself?
Most people seem, to those that love them, almost entirely the same after therapy. Maybe a bit happier or more energized, but the same. That’s because therapy isn’t about changing you, and is unlikely to change you too significantly other than reducing your negative feelings and emotions.
But it’s true that some people do change after therapy. Yet it’s not because therapy changed them. It’s because the mental health conditions they struggled with prevented them from realizing their true selves. So, you *probably* won’t change much after therapy, other than feeling better and in more control over your life. But if you do, it may be because you’re finally getting to experience who you’ve always been that anxiety and depression were holding back.