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By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW

Some folks accuse those seeing a therapist of being selfish or self indulgent.  I find this a uniquely bizarre objection, coming as it usually does from those who have never personally experienced therapy.   

Far from being a merely selfish endeavor, good therapy actually increases our sense of empathy for several reasons:   

First of all, in therapy we are getting emotional needs met so we have more energy to offer others. 

Secondly, therapists role model listening skills so clients become more interested in and able to hear other people’s stories. 

Third, examining and honoring our own pain in therapy gives us profound empathy and respect for other people’s struggles.

Yet attending therapy does go against the grain.  In our mixed up society self-destructive behaviors are regarded as positive:  workaholism is seen as evidence of earnestness, astronomical credit card debt as normal, and getting drunk as having fun. 



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