The reasons people come to counseling or psychotherapy are as varied as people themselves. While close friends and family members are often relied upon for their support during stressful periods in our lives (sometimes, we actually consider them the cause!), it is impossible for them to provide us with the kind of objectivity we often need to clarify our feelings, to make important decisions, or to struggle with those “inner demons” which challenge us fiercely in the process of growth and individuation.
Psychotherapy is particularly well-suited to deal with the repercussions of normal life transitions (new jobs, academic pursuits, new relationships, professional moves, etc.) as well as those which are more disruptive and traumatic and immerse us in grief (separation and divorce, death of a loved one, physical illness and trauma, etc.). Sometimes, we have only a vague sense that something is not quite right, mild feelings of depression, a heightened sensitivity to others’ criticisms, a nagging anxiety about something we cannot identify. These are all good indicators that we are on the cusp of something important in our lives.
One of the major characteristics which separates humans from animals is their persistent desire to create meaning in their lives, to understand what it is that drives them, to find a rationale for their continued existence into the future which is related to a sense of purpose or destiny. It is not necessary to have a “problem” to find counseling a useful and creative enterprise. It is fundamentally a meaning-making process which reveals our most authentic selves, and which provides us with the psychological grounding so necessary to thrive in this ever-more complex global society we have created over the last fifty years.