It is comforting to see how far we’ve come, as a community, in accepting therapy as the incredible resource it truly is. More and more Black millennials are proudly discussing their experiences with therapy and encouraging others to give it a try. While tearing down the stigmas that have long-time been associated with seeking help in this way has its perks, it also has its downfalls in lofty expectations. Though therapy is, no doubt, an invaluable component to our overall health, there are a few things it just isn’t.

An Instant Fix

As with most things, therapy takes time to fully penetrate to the parts of us that need it most. Depending on what you’re working through with your mental health professional, the journey can be one that requires real life application and integration before seeing results. Your therapist can’t do the work for you so it’s imperative that you come committed to seeing change in your life, no matter how hard it may seem at first. 

A Friendship

Chances are you’ll be sharing some pretty personal and revealing things about yourself with your therapist. This can, at times, blur the lines of connection and make you feel as if you’re talking to a friend. You’re not. Your therapist is there to give you some hard truths and help you come to some real answers about what’s affecting your life. You want to make the best use of your time not by just unloading on them the way you would a close friend but letting them know where you are in your journey and what you’re still needing assistance with. Plus, you won’t be tempted to contact them outside of your sessions for life advice if you are clear on the boundaries between patient and therapist. They are people with lives too. 

Just A Time To Talk

Yes, you’ll be doing a lot of talking but you should also be making time to listen. It can be refreshing to share your truths with a neutral party, without a doubt. Just make sure that you’re leaving room for your therapist’s thoughts, inquiries and suggestions. Especially as you start to see actual progress, you may be tempted to take the lead but, remember, only one of you is the professional. Stay in your lane. 

The End Of The Journey

Much like therapy it does not work as a miracle cure-all, it also doesn’t have to be where things end. In fact, it shouldn’t be. The hope is that you’ll start peeling back the layers of who you are and what you’ve been through to arrive at a new level of self-awareness. When this happens, you’ll see more of what you need to keep growing into the person you want to be. This could mean new hobbies, the courage to change jobs or being able to call in the right relationship. Therapy opens doors that, left to fester, emotional and mental wounds can close. So, with a renewed sense of what’s possible, it should be a launching pad not a landing strip.