How you are feeling about the prospect of speaking to your family about your most personal issues is understanding. Of course, you love and trust them, but these are still personal matters. These types of issues are better served by speaking to a therapist. No one in your family is a trained therapist. They simply don’t know how to conduct therapy. That is not a criticism of your family; it is a fact. Therapists complete years of rigorous schooling in order to treat the type of problems you have described. Your family can be there for moral support and in all likelihood would be, but these matters are best suited for professionals.
It’s great that you have a supportive family. Having the love of your family gives you an important foundational base. Not everyone has that luxury. You are fortunate. It something to be thankful for.
You don’t have to keep this entirely a secret from your family. You can be general about what may be wrong and tell them that you are contemplating seeing a therapist. They do not need to know the details. You can simply tell them that you haven’t been feeling yourself or as good as you could feel and that you would like outside assistance. This would give you the benefit of sharing a little about what’s wrong without having to delve into the more personal aspects of the issue. Asked them for their support. Perhaps they may even know of a good therapist or other people who have utilized therapy. It’s a good opportunity for them to support you in your efforts.
You may also benefit from group therapy in addition to individual therapy. The benefits of group therapy include being able to talk to other people who understand what you’re going through, gaining a supportive network of people in your life, and gaining a diversity of ideas. Group therapy can also help you to see your problems in the proper perspective. It can be a relief to know that you are not alone in what you are experiencing.
Alternatively, not everyone prefers group therapy. Sometimes certain members can dominate a group not letting everyone get their fair share of speaking time. Not all support groups are run well which can take away from the quality of the experience. If you did choose group therapy, you’d want to ensure that there is a strong group leader and that others who have participated in the group have benefited from their experience.
If you did choose group therapy, it should be in addition to individual therapy. You might want to choose a therapist who is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Many of the issues that you’ve described could be effectively treated with CBT.
When choosing a therapist, I always recommend interviewing four or five over the phone. Choose the one you like and meet them in person. This is a good strategy for finding the right therapist for you. Thank you for writing. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle