Shaking off Therapy’s Stereotype: How therapy can be used by anyone, anywhere

Shaking off Therapy’s Stereotype: How therapy can be used by anyone, anywhere

Therapy does not always have to be about long term, mental health issues.  It can also be used to combat common occurrences in everyday life that may lead to larger issues later on.

I saw a great example of how therapeutic intervention could be used while at the gym.  While swimming in the pool, I noticed a small swimming class of preschool age children.  One little boy was sobbing the entire time.  This stuck out to me because I noticed the same little boy, crying throughout his lesson, the week before.  The instructor was patient, telling him he was four, he was a BIG boy, and to stop crying.  The other kids in the class were laughing at him.  That little boy was learning a lot of lessons, but unfortunately swimming was not one of them.

He is learning that his fears are not valid,

he is learning to ignore his feelings rather than work through them,

he is learning that “BIG boys” are too old to have feelings,

and that showing weakness gets you made fun of by your peers.

This innocent, everyday occurrence could have some lasting consequences but could also easily be turned around.  In possibly a few sessions, both done at the office and the gym, the boy could work together with a therapist to find the reason for the fear, work through it, learn that it is okay to have feelings at whatever age, and how to work through difficult times.  The parents could learn to view certain behaviors in a new way and perhaps work with the instructor on a better way to communicate with their child.  It is not a long term problem- but the outcome could have long lasting results, especially if handled in a new way.

Therapy does not have to be the cumbersome, drawn out stereotype; it can be a quick, effective solution to intervene at critical times.  Therapy can be used beyond what it is commonly thought.  This little boy could learn how to swim as well as how to be confident and comfortable in sharing his emotions, all of which can serve him well for years to come.

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