You should never put your mental health on the back burner. Make it a priority, alongside your physical health. Always.

Though more and more people are becoming aware of just how vital it is to take care of their mental health, there’s still a certain sense of stigma and taboo when it comes to therapy. Plenty of people see no shame about going to sessions and feel better because of them. However, depending on where in the world you live, going to therapy can be seen as a sign of ‘weakness.’ Hence the lingering stigma.

Some of the most profound things you can learn in life are simple truths and crystal clear wisdom. And internet users from far and wide decided to enlighten everyone by sharing the very best things they’ve ever learned from their therapist in a thread on r/AskReddit. They felt that these things, thoughts, and ideas were something that absolutely everyone should hear.

Scroll down for a serious mediation about self-worth, boundaries, anxiety, and making sense of the world when everyone seems overwhelming and chaotic, Pandas. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, so feel free to speak your mind in the comments. And if you feel like you’d like to share something from your own therapy sessions that you personally found enlightening, go right ahead at the very bottom of this article.

Suzanne Degges-White, a therapist and the author of 'Toxic Friendships: Knowing the Rules and Dealing with the Friends Who Break Them,' kindly answered Bored Panda's questions about the stigma surrounding therapy, how we can tell if we may need counseling, and how to determine whether a therapist is trustworthy. She explained that capable therapists are those who normalize our experiences, make sure we feel heard, and will always keep the focus on us. Degges-White is a Licensed Counselor, as well as Professor and Chair of the Counseling and Higher Education department at Northern Illinois University.

#1

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Failure is an idea that not all cultures believe in. Native Americans believe you either succeed or you learn. “Failing” is a social construct designed to control you.

nornidentity , Razvan Chisu Report

"Admitting we need help isn't easy—in many cultures, there is value placed on self-sufficiency and the ability to work things out on our own. To admit that we're in need of assistance can make us feel like failures. There's a sense of shame for some people, as well. In addition, just acknowledging struggles with mental health—including stress, anxiety, or depression—is still a taboo for many people due to how their families viewed therapy and counseling. It's a challenge to get people into therapy and it can be even more of a challenge to keep them engaged until they've worked through their issues sufficiently," Professor Degges-White explained.

She told Bored Panda that therapy may be useful for a person when they feel like they've run out of solutions for a problem and haven't figured out the right one. Most often, people seek help due to poor relationships: whether with themselves or with others.

"When we feel that no one understands us, or we feel things that don't make sense to us, or we're struggling in a relationship, therapy may provide the means to a resolution. In going into a first session with a therapist, we should be ready to be met with the core conditions of counseling in our therapist—genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. We should feel that our therapist 'gets us' and makes us feel at ease as we open up," Degges-White shared what we ought to expect when first starting sessions with a professional. It's important to recognize whether the fit between the therapist and the client is right or not.

#2

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Just because you knew someone who had it worse does not mean your situation wasn't abuse as well.

As a non-combat veteran: just because I wasn't getting shot at doesn't mean I don't deserve VA assistance for the PTSD caused by my military role.

hermitatlarge , Pixabay Report

ejfs
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

THIS. Every experience, thought, emotion, trauma, all of it, is valid.

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#3

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy “No.” Is a complete sentence

no-guac , Vie Studio Report

"We should also recognize that it can be weird, at first, to open up to a stranger, but also feel that as we do self-disclose, the therapist supports us as we risk being open and honest. Not every therapist fits every client—sometimes we might have to engage in a couple of 'misses' before we find the therapist who is right for us. However, we shouldn't give up trying—when we have the courage to reach out, it means that we are ready for change—keep up the motivation to work on the issue that's keeping you from moving forward."

According to Professor Degges-White, one of the most important things that one's therapist can do for us is to normalize our experiences. They help provide a broader picture. "When we feel that our own struggles are not so unusual or unexpected and we're not 'crazy,' that helps us feel better about seeking help. In addition, when a therapist really listens deeply to us, that can be healing in itself. There is a great deal of power in talk therapy—being able to find a space to say out loud what we need to say is so liberating!"

What's more, therapists ensure that we feel heard. They also validate our perspectives, which, according to the professor, may be "immensely beneficial." 

"Trustworthy therapists will focus on you, not their clocks or their phones, when you're in session. They will behave professionally—they won't be late for appointments, they won't cancel and re-schedule appointments unless a rare emergency strikes, they will keep the focus on YOU and not derail therapeutic conversations to inappropriately self-disclose about their own problems."

#4

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy You can bring up your mood if you reframe your thinking.

Instead of being annoyed that you have to clean your cat boxes, be grateful that you have an animal who keeps you company.

Having to wash dishes means that you got to eat a meal.

Having to take someone to the airport means that you have friends/family in your life that trust you.

purpleRN , Amadeo Valar Report

Tamra
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Gratitude. When I'm in the depths of depression, I have to make myself do this every day, even if I can only come up with one thing to be grateful for. It takes practice and perseverance, and some days I don't manage it. Refer to the other post about "progress, not perfection". 🙂

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#5

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy That all emotions have their time and place. Also that I can’t control how other people feel. It’s not my job to keep them happy or satisfied. I am allowed to let people be angry or upset.

stewiesaidblast , cottonbro Report

Allison Hart
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is so true. I often obsess over whether people are enjoying themselves when we go somewhere to the point that I'm not enjoying myself.

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#6

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy You have a limited amount of energy and time in any given day, and you get to choose where you place that energy. Like chips at a roulette table.

Every angry twitter response, Reddit argument, etc is me putting those chips on those squares. My stack dwindles each time.

Angry thoughts about a news article, an opinion I disagree with, that a*****e driver on the freeway, all of that takes energy, my chips. An extremely limited resource.

So I’m trying to live though that lens and make the best possible decisions with my stack. That a*****e driver gets none of my chips anymore. YA CANT HAVE EM F**KFACE.

Today I was about to have a negative interaction online so I got up and pet the ever loving s**t out of my cat instead. Like world class scratches - he was stoked.

Chips. Place them wisely.


I stop myself many times a day from doing it. I’m much happier now. Still f****d up, but happier in my stew if that makes any sense.

campoanywhere , Pavel Danilyuk Report

Previously, Bored Panda spoke about therapy and counseling sessions with British psychotherapist Silva Neves. He noted that, though there’s still a certain stigma still attached to seeking help for one’s mental health, the situation is far from as bad as it used to be before.

"I think it is getting better and there is less stigma seeing a therapist now. It depends on your location though, there are still some parts of the world where therapy is still a taboo. Some people think that seeing a therapist means that you're 'crazy,' but this is not actually what therapy is about," he explained what therapy is and is not.

"Therapy is a confidential and private space where you can get help from a professional with anything that bothers you, from your work problems, relationship issues, or other psychological problems such as post-trauma stress, depression, and anxiety," the therapist told Bored Panda.

"Those things are actually very common and many people struggle with these things, it doesn't mean they're crazy. Seeing a therapist when you have emotional struggles should be as normal as seeing your doctor when you have a physical problem. But at the moment, our society hasn't normalized therapy yet. It is changing with famous people talking about the benefits of therapy such as Lady Gaga and Prince Harry,” he noted that therapy is becoming more and more widely accepted because it’s a topic that well-known individuals talk about in public.

#7

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy How people act is a reflection of them, not me.

Commercial_Zombie196 , Vince Fleming Report

Ael
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Have to disagree with that. Was it really only a 'reflection of me' when I beat up the bawbag who groped me?

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#8

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy If you take good thoughts with a grain of salt why not also take the bad with a grain of salt? Hear it, recognize it, and let it leave.

findthefish14 , kevin turcios Report

Shane S
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We all have them. And anyone who says they don’t is lying or in denial.

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#9

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy A counselor at my university taught me that just because your anxiety tells you something will happen, that doesn't make it true. One way to illustrate this is to place a pen on a table, tell yourself you won't be able to pick it up, and then do it anyway. It feels so weird but also so comforting to know that your thoughts don't have as much influence on your life as they want you to believe. The therapist who told me this was just an intern at the time. I really hope she has been able to help people the same way she did me where ever she is now.

BlossomtheMare , Joice Kelly Report

Hanni
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, but they never tell you HOW you can shut up the anxieties.

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While your mental health is of paramount importance, so is your physical health. Taking care of your mind means, in large part, being kind to your body. That means getting plenty of movement every day, eating in a healthy and balanced way, staying hydrated, and getting enough sunlight.

Then there’s the social aspect to consider, too. People are hardwired to be social beings. Our brains reward us for socializing and being kind to others. That means that in order to have a healthy and happy life, you need to have a strong group of family, friends, and coworkers on whom you can rely.

#10

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy People don’t know what you’re thinking or wanting if you don’t say it. If you don’t communicate your emotions and thoughts, you can’t expect people to mind-read, and then get upset at them for not doing what you expected.

lhy13 , Priscilla Du Preez Report

Tracy Wallick
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I dealt with this so much from my narcissistic father, I blatantly ignore (or deliberately misinterpret) passive-aggressive subtext until they say what they mean.

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#11

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy We judge others based on their actions but we judge ourselves based on our intentions.

Jesst3r Report

#12

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy My mom was a terrible person, and the therapist told me i didn't need to treat her as if she was a loving mother. I was doing all the things a good daughter does for a mother that loves them, however i didnt have a mother that treated me as though she loved me. It was life changing to realise this and really helped me stop being abused by her.

Spiritual_Annual_276 , Fuu J Report

Bored Retsuko
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sigh. I've realised but not internalised this properly. 😔

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Making time for them is essential to keeping your mind healthy. While some people prefer taking more time for themselves, no person (with some extremely rare exceptions) can function completely in isolation. We need others. However, having just anybody in your life—whether romantically, platonically, or otherwise—won’t cut it. You have to have people in your life who will lift you up instead of those who put you down. Clear boundaries and honest communication can help you filter out who’s a true and steadfast friend and who’s just here while the weather’s fair.

The hardest step is the first one. If you have any advice about starting therapy that you'd like to share with all the other Pandas, dear Readers, feel free to do so. A helping hand, a kind word, a bit of support: these are things that can make a huge difference, even if they come from a stranger on the internet.

#13

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Overworking is a form of self harm.

PhreedomPhighter , cottonbro Report

#14

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy People aren't always looking and thinking about you if you're in public. If you enter a room full of people and they all turn to look at you, it's just a knee-jerk reaction to movement/noise, they literally won't even think about you past "this person just entered the room"

Helped soo much with social anxiety.

Fable_Nova Report

Vix Spiderthrust
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yep. If I'm sat facing a door I'll look every time someone comes in, file them under "unknown variable", and continue the conversation I was already having.

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#15

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Not from a therapist, but from pre-marital counseling:

Don’t try to “win” an argument with your spouse. It’s the two of you vs. the problem, not the the two of you vs. each other.

Bluedevil_10 , Charlie Foster Report

Daniel Aaron
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some christian churches & religious organizations actually require pre marital counseling prior to performing the ceremony. All 3 of my sisters & their soon to be husbands had to do this before being married in the church they were raised in.

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#16

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Progress not perfection.

As someone who has *extremely* high standards for myself I have to repeat this on the daily

driftwood-and-waves , RODNAE Productions Report

badger
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.

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#17

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy To not make permanent decisions whilst in a highly emotional state

_NotTheBang_ , cottonbro Report

Ashley Schriber
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What the f***k is supposed to be going on in this picture

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#18

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy How people treat you is THEIR karma. How YOU respond is your karma.

alaskadavis , Christina @ wocintechchat.com Report

#19

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy My worth is not determined by my productivity.

Being raised by a workaholic Marine and then having a series of nightmare bosses led me to have a severe guilt spiral if I spent a most of day not "doing" something.

kayarreff , Mikhail Nilov Report

Shane S
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This was a change for me when I started working from home. I felt guilty starting that load of laundry. Or running to the coffee shop on the clock. But if the work gets done, what does it matter? I just work faster than my colleagues because I’m better and more familiar with technology.

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#20

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy People don’t care. They are not talking behind my back or thinking how I’m fat and ugly or that my shoes are wrong. People don’t care about me. And if they are? Who cares? Literally changed my anxiety. Also works in the sense that most people in my life have not cared about me and I need to stop trying to please people that don’t care about ME.

princessbitch123 Report

Jill Rhodry
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Those who care don't matter; those who matter don't care.

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#21

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy You cannot help people unless and until you help yourself.

My therapist asked me how I would explain the scars I had to future partners or future children one day. Do you want them to know that you were in a not so good place with your mental health but got help or do you tell them nothing?

Also when I was a teenager and had just been released from the adolescent inpatient ward, I was nervous about going back to school, my therapist just looked me straight in the eye and said I owed no one any explanations but I also could tell people nicely to get bent.

She is one of the reasons why I became a social worker.

Helpful-Obligation57 , Dominik Lange Report

#22

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy I’ve struggled with infertility and I’m now sterile. It was a b***h to get through but my therapist taught me a few things.

Other peoples situations have nothing to do with me. People I’m close to are going to get pregnant and have kids. It’s ok for me to feel jealous and upset for a bit but that I needed to realize that it’s a part of life, and holding onto that anger wasn’t going to be good for me. Let it go. I still get bitter sometimes but I find it easier to let it go now and not let it consume me.

To not blame myself. I kept coming up with reasons for my infertility, things I thought I could’ve done differently and maybe if I did this or didn’t do that this wouldn’t have happened to me when in all actuality there wasn’t anything I really could’ve done. I have a medical condition and I got the s**t end of the stick.

Not to feel guilty. I felt so much guilt, because my husband wants to be a father so badly. I sometimes felt so bad he married me, and thought I wouldn’t blame him if he left me for someone who could give him children. He’s told me again and again he loves me and if we never have kids it’s ok because he has me. I didn’t feel I deserved that kind of love and sometimes it’s hard to accept but I’m so grateful for it. I do deserve love, I’m more than my ability to have children and it’s been a hard road to finally start having some acceptance of that.

If I hadn’t met my therapist I think I would just be in such a terrible state.

KayOh19 , Fa Barboza Report

Planetamy
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Adopt, we did. Having kids that look like you is overrated.

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#23

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy I had confidence issues and the therapist said "on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being a famous movie star with millions of fans, and 1 being a homeless person screaming at people on the street. 5 being you can hold a conversation where do you put yourself." I realised I wasn't as bad as I thought.

Never_comment_polite , Campaign Creators Report

Nata Oberg
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This shows a lot about the judgement and disrespect the therapist has for unhoused folks with mental illness… wow. As a therapist working with highly vulnerable populations, this attitude is very sad and complicit with a sick system.

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#24

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy You know, most people don't actually feel guilty when saying "no" to someone or something. They don't rush to "fill the gap", or find alternative solutions that make everyone happy, or dwell on the awfulness of it all. They just say "no" and move on to the next thought.

I don't know why it was such a startling revelation, but it made sense immediately after I heard it.

grumpy_hedgehog , David Gor Report

#25

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy If you spend time stressing or worrying about something that *might* happen or *before* it happens, you're putting yourself through it twice. If worst case scenario *does* happen, then once is enough.

SabrinaSpellman1 , TUBARONES PHOTOGRAPHY Report

Debbie Friis-Pettitt
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not sure I completely agree with this. If I know a bad situation is possible. It helps me to think it through with a reasonable response so that I am not caught off guard. I am able to face a situation with a pre planned response. It’s no different than physically being prepared for a disaster. Like the saying goes: “It’s better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.”

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#26

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy She told me not to think about a Pink Elephant.
I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but she gave me a few moments to think. I was trying not to think about a pink elephant but it’s all I could think about because she told me not to think about it. After the time was up, she asked me what I was thinking about. I told her I was thinking about a pink elephant.

She told me that the more you try not to think about something, and push it to the back of your mind; the more you tend to think about it. This is why my thoughts were consuming me and I was having awful flashbacks.

Thanks to her, I have been able to manage my PTSD, depression and anxiety. She was lovely.

ZoeDurrant1601 , Geran de Klerk Report

Shane S
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Our brains don’t like being told “no. Don’t. You can’t.”

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#27

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Just because you think a thought, it does not mean that thought controls your destiny or defines who you are. Our minds come up with some really weird s**t... and that's okay. They're just thoughts. How we choose to feel or act is what really counts.

Xerxes2004 , Tingey Injury Law Firm Report

Shane S
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I find that obsessing on a thought or its origin is much more torturous than just allowing myself to think it and then letting it go.

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#28

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy That my traumatized child self still lives rent free in my head, and that's okay, but that we are not the same person any more, so their fears and hurts should not stop my present from being happy.

That I don't have to prove my worth through deeds and self-sacrifice. My worth is intrinsic.

That people can love you and mean well and still hurt me, so I shouldn't be afraid to voice those hurts.

Those are just a few. She was great.

potatobutton , Ksenia Makagonova Report

Brian bell
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I just wish I could accept that my worth is intrinsic.

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#29

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy People lie with their words not their actions.

timmyisserpico , Mikhail Nilov Report

General Anaesthesia
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't know, maybe ask any groomed or jilted lover or so if actions can't lie.

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#30

30 Incredibly Useful Things People Heard While In Therapy Be kind and unconditionally loving toward yourself as though you were a little kid. A lot of us still have some trace of feeling like a child left within us, but we can still be inwardly harsh and cruel in ways we would never be to the softest parts of ourselves if they were manifested into another being.

threecolorless , Taisiia Stupak Report

XenoMurph
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is true. But sometimes we have to confront ourselves, and be brutally honest. We cannot give in to our worst impluses, alcohol, drugs, even self pity, are all addictive and take inner strength.

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