We New Yorkers are a hard bunch. We don’t have much time for chitchat, we’re not afraid to make a point, and — let’s face it — there’s some truth to the stereotype that we’re a rude bunch. Getting by in New York City is tough, and life here breeds tough, independent people. For every Manhattan socialite in New York City, you’ll find lots of rough-and-tumble construction workers, steely eyed waiters and waitresses, fearless firefighters, and child care workers who can handle things others can’t even imagine. Heck, even those socialites can be pretty tough — just try cutting a brunch line some Sunday.
You might assume that someone as resilient and as fiercely independent as a typical member of our motley 8.5 million-person crew would neither want or need therapy. But you’d be wrong. In New York City, going to therapy makes a ton of sense. Here’s why.
Therapy is a powerful way to treat, protect, and improve one’s mental health. Yet many of us carry unhelpful and inaccurate assumptions about what therapy is and how it works. We think that therapy exists only to treat mental illnesses and disorders such as depression or anxiety. We think that therapy is just for trauma — that something has to “put you in therapy.” That’s not true.
It’s true enough that therapy can be helpful for those suffering from mental illnesses, and it’s true that therapy can be helpful to those coping with trauma, grief, and other serious issues and feelings. But it’s equally true that therapy can reinforce and build upon healthy minds and ways of thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy is all about looking at the patterns that run our lives: namely, our thought and behavioral patterns. When we recognize the patterns our own thinking can fall into — especially negative thought patterns — we can take control and respond better to the people, things, and events that we encounter each day. That can make us better partners, parents, friends, employees, managers — you name it.
New York and therapy
Virtually anyone can benefit from therapy. For New Yorkers, it should be a no-brainer.
This is a stressful city. We work long hours in highly competitive jobs, which can be a major source of stress. We deal with traffic, crowds, and some real weirdos. And stress is a major mental health issue that can make you sick and shorten your life.
Happily, New York City is home to some of the best therapists in the world. So when you’ve been struggling all week with a crushing work schedule and a subway system that never seems to work when you need it, you can talk to someone who understands. More importantly, someone who can help you understand. Therapy can give you strategies and insights that make navigating this big, crazy city just a little bit easier.
So why not start now? Look up experts who are offering cognitive therapy in your part of New York City, or find a therapist whose office is close to your workplace. Search online, ask your primary care provider for a referral, or ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations. If you’re concerned about affordable care, contact your insurance company to ask what it would take to get your visits to a therapist covered.
Seeking therapy is one of the best choices that a New Yorker can make. Along with other smart lifestyle decisions, therapy can give you the happier and healthier life that you deserve — here in New York City and wherever you go next.