As the new season of This is Us continues to deliver its trademark moments of self-awareness and all around realness, you might find yourself thinking about your own life. Maybe you've had panic attacks like Randall. Suppose you've struggled with body image like Kate. Perhaps you have wondered, at times, if you made a huge mistake in your love life à la Kevin. Thinking about our struggles is natural and healthy, but often it's only in our lowest moments that we seek help. As one This is Us star recently said, it's best not to think that way.
Speaking to Huffington Post, Mandy Moore said therapy has helped her a lot and has been a constant source of support for her throughout her life. But surprisingly she said: "I feel like it’s most beneficial at times when I don’t think that I need it, like when there’s not a ton going on that feels stressful. I find that I get the most benefit out of it sometimes when I feel like I’m doing okay.”
Therapy is not just for people in crisis.
This is a very important thing to remember—not just for all of us in our personal lives—but also as a key component in continuing to destigmatize mental health struggles. So much of why people hesitate to seek therapy or why they hide it when they are getting help is because we assume only "messed up" people need counseling. That's simply not the case.
Josh Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Web Radio Show, says this is a common truth he has witnessed in his own career and life. "When you are in a crisis, you are hyper focused on the pain and the path out," he says. "You aren't in an emotional or often cognitive position to focus on anything else."
In contrast, when your life seems to be going pretty well, really, that's when you might gain the most.
"Some of the biggest life changes I have seen have been when a client comes to a session and says to me, 'I can't really think of anything that's wrong,'" Klapow says. "Their defense mechanisms are down, the survival mode is off, and we can deeply explore what they have done right, how they have thought about situations, how they have navigated their emotions. The result? Clients can optimize their lives. They can go from good, to better to great. They have a clarity that is not present when there is struggle."
Therapy will always be a great resource for anyone needing help in the bad times, but as Mandy Moore reminds us, life is a continuum. Maybe the effort you put in when life is good—when you have the mental bandwidth to reflect and the focus to implement new, healthy habits—could be what really prepares us for the inevitable challenges that lie ahead.
"Psychotherapy serves many purposes," Klapow says, only one of which is to guide you through life's darkest moments. You don't have to consistently see a therapist forever, though. "The bottom line is this: We all need therapy in our lives at one point or another. Sometimes it's to pull us back from the edge, and sometimes it's to catapult us from a good place to a great place."