Think of a Therapist as a Personal Trainer

Think of a Therapist as a Personal Trainer

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In my bubble of a 30-something in NYC, talking about therapy is fairly common. It nonchalantly comes up in conversations. And most of the people I meet go to one. So I was recently surprised when someone, outside of my bubble, was embarrassed about starting therapy. They told me, “I’m only going to her until I get out of this funk. Don’t let it get around.” This person was seriously ashamed about seeking help.

Why does seeking out help have such a stigma to it? Well, only certain types of help right? Getting help to improve your physical health isn’t looked down upon. Having a nutritionist, diet counselor, or personal trainer isn’t embarrassing. But there are different aspects of our health. And mental health is just as important as physical health.

You hire a personal trainer to get our bodies in shape. So why is it so weird to hire a personal trainer to get our minds in shape?


Why Do We Need Help in the First Place?

There are thousands of books on running, eating healthy, and working out. You’ve probably read a few of these. You know exactly what you need to do. You need to eat less, work out more, eat less fats, and eat more vegetables. Yet, you’re not doing that. You know what you need to do but you don’t do it. Or you do it briefly. Sporadically.

The same is for emotions. There are thousands of self-help books on controlling your anger, interpersonal communications, and relationships. You know exactly what you need to do. You need to stay calm, think before you speak, and open yourself up more. Yet, you’re not doing that. You know what you need to do but you don’t do it.


We Are Only Human

So, if you know what we need to do, why aren’t you doing it? Well, you’re only human. We all need help sometimes. We need to be held accountable and encouraged. This is why books & reading don’t work. They’re not as motivating as one person. You don’t have anyone to answer to when reading a book. But when you see a personal trainer or a therapist, you check-in with this person once a week. They help you stay on track. And they give you a break when you need it. This is also why most training plans in books aren’t always practical.

Unfortunately, talking about mental health can be embarrassing because it is so invisible. Until it’s not, of course. If you tell someone you’re seeing a physical trainer, they will likely be happy and encourage you. Maybe you’ve had some unhealthy eating habits lately. These can be noticeable. But it’s more difficult talking about therapy. You can’t always see mental illnesses. Especially when people hide them.


It needs to become acceptable everywhere to care about our mental health. Seeing a therapist doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Just as seeing a personal trainer doesn’t mean you’re obese.

If you’d like to start seeing a therapist but am not sure how to go about it, here’s a little guide.

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3 Replies to “Think of a Therapist as a Personal Trainer”

  1. It’s definitely silly that therapists still have a stigma. No one would judge you for going to any other kind of doctor.

    Personally, I’ve been well aware for a while now that my anxiety disorder is not totally under control anymore, but the process of figuring out how my insurance works is confusing as all get out and keeps me from figuring out how to find one. I guess once I have a total meltdown, that will be reason to get my act together and set up an appointment… I should probably be more proactive about this to avoid that.

    1. It is probably irresponsible but I didn’t want to be limited when searching for a therapist so I didn’t even look into ones covered by my insurance. My current therapist doesn’t take insurance. But I was able to set-up an FSA this year, which helped. It is definitely a cost but since it’s more of an investment I justify it. I strongly encourage you to start talking to someone before a meltdown happens because those are not fun!

  2. I don’t have any specific reason for going to therapy right now, but man if I had it in my budget I totally would. It’s just nice to bounce how you’re feeling off to an impartial person. But sadly I can’t afford therapy right now. :( But I agree that your mental health is just as important as all other aspects of health!

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