A few weeks ago I was at a panel on mental health and one of the student panelists had a great line: “At college you get assigned an RA, an academic adviser, and even a personal librarian. What they really should assign you is a therapist.”
My personal librarian was assigned to me, and I knew that she would be glad to help, and that everyone else in the class had either seen her or wished they had the time. I never thought like I would be a burden for asking for help when it became too hard to find information, and I certainly didn’t think it made me any less of a student. Yet when it comes to going to a therapist, there’s a lot more hesitation. People have less of an idea of what it means to go to a therapist than they do to go to a librarian. So to clear up some common misconceptions, I present “Why Therapy isn’t so scary… as explained through 30 Rock gifs.”
When you think of someone who goes to therapy, most people think of someone like this:
You don’t need to be “crazy” to go to therapy, and going to therapy doesn’t make you crazy. Therapy is a place to explore your past, to figure out how to solve things differently, or to have an objective observer listen to your day. Everyone could use a pair of trained ears, and you don’t need to have a problem to benefit from therapy.
Some people like to take pride in their struggles.
But going to therapy isn’t going to negate that. Instead it can help you learn how to turn your experiences into the person you want to be.
Does this mean I’m suddenly going to have to confront all my deepest, darkest fears?
Maybe. But what’s super cool about therapy is that YOU get to control what happens in it. Want to go deep and unpack your childhood trauma from when the teacher ran out of horse stickers right when they got to you- go for it. But you can also use the space to decompress about what is going on in your life and the best strategies for handling right now.
But doesn’t going to therapy mean I’m not the superstar everyone thinks I am?
Nope. Going to therapy doesn’t mean you can’t still be a role model. It doesn’t mean you can’t still be there for friends, or that you can’t talk to your friends about your personal problems. And it doesn’t mean you need to become a therapy advocate. It just means that you are choosing to take some to take care of yourself in a particular way.
How can I be the super-awesome, taking 10 classes and involved in 16 different clubs and go to therapy?
That’s why the resources we have at Barnard are so wonderful! We have so many different options, that one should fit into your schedule. Check out the bottom on the post for the entire schedule!
I still don’t think therapy is for me.
And that’s ok! A lot of people can benefit from seeing a therapist, and it may be right for you at a different time in your life or not at all. You also don’t have to stick with the first therapist you see. Just like we don’t instantly click with everyone in a class, you might not like the style of the first therapist you get assigned. Don’t be afraid to speak up if it’s not working, or even to request one that specializes in specific issues/identities.
Regardless of how you feel about therapy and if it is right for you, remember to make self-care a priority during the semester. Everyone’s self-care is different, and don’t force yourself to do something because that’s the “only” way to relax or care for yourself. Do what makes YOU feel happy and healthy.
Furman Counseling Center Hours:
Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm
Phone: (212) 854-2092
Location: 100 Hewitt Hall, First floor
Pre-scheduled evening appointments:
Mon-Thurs: 5pm – 7pm
After-hours Psychological Help LIne
Listening Hours: (Walk-in sessions available in the evenings)
Plimpton Hall: Mondays, 7-9:30 pm
Elliot Hall: Thursdays, 7-9:30 pm