My clients sometimes look at me a bit funny when I tell them that they think too much. Isn’t that the purpose of therapy, they will say, to think? Sometimes, yes. And sometimes therapy should do just the opposite – it should help you to stop thinking when those thoughts are doing nothing but getting in your way.
Good therapy should be so much more than just a place explore your thoughts. It should guide you to think about the right things, at the correct time, in the most accurate way. More importantly therapy should help you to develop the ability to take all that wonderful thought and actually do something about it that changes your life for the better.
Most of us can relate to feeling anxious about the unknown, being paralyzed by indecision, and playing the “what if” game in our head as we work through various scenarios. To some extent these thoughts and feelings are highly functional – they caution us, slow us down, and force us into making thoughtful choices. Clearly I’m an advocate for thoughtful decision making. However at some point we can become so consumed by thinking that we run the risk of losing all objectivity. Instead of being a functional process that results in good decision making and taking action, we become helplessly stuck.
It’s true that even with the best counsel and planning we won’t always make the right decision. We can’t predict the future or control for every conceivable variable. It’s also true that for some of us we don’t always have the best instincts or a pattern of good decision making in the past. If that’s the case then a more in depth exploration of the situation and the advice of someone you trust is a very good thing. At some point though we need to realize that it is very possible to get so stuck in our heads that we fail to take any action at all. Isn’t action what most of us really want, the ability to finally make a decision and run with it?
That’s the ultimate purpose of therapy. To help you get wherever you want to go, with a clear head, and the least amount of unnecessary obstacles possible.