By: Sarah Zucker, Psy.D.

When I was younger, I didn’t really understand what people meant when they said, “I don’t know who I am yet.” It turns out I didn’t know who I was yet either, but at the time I thought I knew everything so I didn’t really care. I just made decisions as they needed to be made and felt whatever feelings arose without realizing how they connected to the larger, complicated picture of who I was. At this point in my life, growing and exploring who I am — what I like, what I don’t like, how I feel safe, how I change, how I can be most helpful to others, what I’m afraid of, what I really want out of life —  is a very important and exciting process. This type of self-exploration has become one of the primary reasons people seek out therapy. In our go-go-go more-more-more 24/7 culture, people have decided they need to take time to slow down and turn inward. As a result, more and more people are coming into therapy simply to explore the inner workings of themselves.

Finding Who You AreGrowth and knowledge is what therapy is all about. It’s a safe space to think out loud, feel out loud, try out possibilities, practice new points of view, and, most importantly, to learn and change for the better. There is no definitive “better” aside from the healthiest, most empowered version of yourself. What that will look like for each individual is as varied as we are ourselves. That’s the cool thing about therapy… You have the space to figure out what makes you the unique person that you are. For example, I’m personally always striving for inner peace but someone else may long for better relationships or more confidence. And all of these goals are worthwhile in therapy. Although many people attend therapy at first because something is wrong or they are experiencing distress, they end up staying after the original problem has been addressed. Clients initially come to therapy to feel better but they stay for the rewards of self-exploration. And having someone who is supportive and skilled to guide you through the process can be extremely helpful.

Self-knowledge is a never-ending, always-evolving process and giving yourself permission to examine it for the first time in therapy can provide you with the tools you need to succeed later on. It isn’t our goal to have you become dependent on therapy. In fact, it’s just the opposite; we want you to feel more confident and equipped to deal with the chaos of everyday life on your own. We’re always happy to see you for a tune-up, but what’s most fulfilling for us is to see you thriving as you head down whatever path you choose.

So if you’ve recently become curious about why you do the things you do (especially if they don’t seem good for you), even if nothing is explicitly “wrong,” consider giving therapy a try. We often hear concerned clients say things that reflect misperceptions about therapy that just aren’t true. You’re not damaged or weird or sick or unhealthy because you’re making an empowered choice to seek support. And even if you do need help because you have a problem or are having a hard time coping, there is nothing “wrong” with you. Plus, being proactive can often avert potential crises from happening down the road. At our San Diego office, we work daily with children, teens, young adults, adults, and elderly folks who came in wondering if they could be getting a little bit more out of life. If this sounds like you, consider therapy as one approach to increase your self-awareness, purpose, and sense of satisfaction.