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  • Caleb Birkhoff

10 Reasons to Go to Therapy in Your 30s

Entering your thirties can be an intense, overwhelming, and confusing time of life. As an aging millennial, being at the end of your 30s can also feel like a lot. For many it’s the first milestone birthday that feels like a measure of aging, instead of the unlocking of a new opportunity. On one hand, it can be a period of accomplishment, personal growth, and newfound independence. On the other hand, it can also be daunting as it usually comes with more responsibilities and challenges; without out the feeling of having “plenty of time to figure it out.”

You may be struggling with finding your purpose, reconciling your past, or dealing with family conflicts. Many people in their 30s struggle with relationship issues, career worries, adjustment to parenthood, anxiety, depression, and more. You may be reading this blog because you are facing challenges in changing your career, starting a family, or evaluating your relationships. Whatever your situation may be, remember that you are not alone. Seeking therapy can be an essential step in taking charge of your mental health, well-being, and overall happiness. Here are ten valuable reasons why going to therapy in your thirties can be one of the best investments you can make for yourself.

Reasons to be in Therapy in Your 30s

1.Process past traumas

Even though you might think you’ve moved on from past hurts, unresolved trauma from your childhood or early adulthood can still impact your life. Therapy can help you understand how your past experiences are affecting your present and future. You’re also likely in an age group where we begin to face loss, in all of its various forms.

Any unresolved trauma or grief from the past can influence your present and future, leading to feelings of anger, sadness, or hopelessness. Therapy can help you process your emotional pain and provide a safe place to grieve or address this emotional experience, and help you recognize the patterns this unaddressed pain manifests as in your life. By healing the wounds of the past, you can free yourself from recurring negative cycles and build a better future for yourself.

2. Navigate career changes

Whether it’s switching careers, starting a new job, or advancing in your current career, therapy can provide you with valuable insight into how to navigate these changes. A therapist won’t be fine tuning your resume or crafting the perfect cover letter, but they can help you decide what feels right, or aligns with your goals. Skills that you could learn in therapy are often referred to “soft skills” in the corporate world and can be incredible tools in your job satisfaction and achievement.

It's natural to feel overwhelmed, lost, or stuck during these times. Therapy can provide you with a sounding board to explore your options, work through obstacles, and make informed decisions. You can develop practical coping strategies and tools to manage stress, anxiety, or depression that often accompanies transitions in your professional life.

3. Improve your relationships

Your 30s can be a period of significant relationship changes. You might be looking for something serious or to settle down, getting out of something long-term, getting closer to old friends, or making new ones. This is often a time in people’s lives where they start to reevaluate friendships and prioritize some over others. Therapy can help you work through communication issues, manage conflict better, and improve your overall relationship satisfaction.

A great place to start improving relationships is to improve communication skills. Effective communication is a vital factor in building strong and healthy relationships. Whether it's with your family, friends, or romantic partners, improving your communication skills can prevent conflicts, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. Therapy can help you develop clear, assertive, and compassionate communication skills that allow you to express yourself more authentically, set healthy boundaries, and build deeper connections.

4. Develop healthy coping mechanisms

Life can be overwhelming, especially in your 30s. Having a mental health professional can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms to ease anxiety and stress. Those things that used to work just might not do the trick anymore or have diminishing returns on their effectiveness. This is a great time in life for you to cultivate new skills, or enhance old ones, that have real staying power and can be effective over the long haul. Some of the old stuff is maladaptive, or just not cute anymore. Therapy can help you refill the so called “tool kit,” preparing you for some of the challenges to come.

5. Unpack family dynamics

Therapy can be incredibly beneficial in understanding and detangling complex family dynamics that are affecting your life. I always tell clients that I believe one of the most crucial developmental milestones of adulthood is being able to see your family of origin for who they really are, in totality. This can be a challenging and sometimes painful process, support from a therapist can make it a fruitful process.

You need a safe place to process your thoughts and feelings; about your family and the other things happening in your life. Sometimes it feels like there's a lot of pressure to be positive and happy all the time. Life is not perfect, though, and it's okay to feel sad, anxious, or confused sometimes. Therapy is a supportive space where you can express your honest and authentic self without fear of being judged. You can talk about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences without worrying about burdening your friends or family. The right therapist can provide you with a compassionate environment to unpack and examine your emotions, so you feel less alone and more grounded in your life.

6. Get support through parenthood

Starting a family can be a beautiful experience but can also come with its set of challenges. Therapy can provide you with a safe space to work through any parenting challenges and struggles. Some of the challenges are impossible to plan for, but you can find support to face them all. This is also a helpful time to consider couples therapy, as there can be a lot of inherent friction in parenting and the road to becoming parents. For many people it’s an exciting experience wall to wall, but it can also be a very emotionally challenging and draining experience that does require support before it has long-term negative ramifications.

7. Enhance self-awareness

Therapy can help you deepen your self-awareness, which can help you identify patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion and make healthier choices. Though being 30 often sounds grown-up, or to some of us “old,” it’s a time of dynamic self-discovery with lots of change possible. Therapy can help you identify your sense of self and help you develop patterns and behaviors in your life so the outside matches the inside.

It can be very helpful in this process to uncover and address unhealthy patterns that exist in your life. Sometimes, we repeat unhealthy patterns in our relationships, careers, or behaviors without realizing. These patterns can manifest as self-sabotage, impulsivity, or avoidance, and they can hold you back from living life to the fullest. Through therapy, you can learn to recognize these patterns, understand how they impact your life, and work towards breaking them. The insight and awareness you gain through therapy can improve your relationships, increase your emotional intelligence, and enhance your self-esteem.

8. Improve your mental health

Mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and mood disorders can impact your overall wellbeing. Therapy can provide tools, resources, and coping strategies to help you manage these issues. Mental health is not limited to diagnosable disorders, but should include challenges you face, stress you have, and connection with your authentic self. We’re a generation that has had the phrase “self care” jammed down our throats at every turn by an employer, therapy will be more effective at that than a yoga class or a hot bath.

9. Treat, heal, and learn to manage health conditions

While therapy is not a substitute for medical care, it can be an essential part of healing, coping, and managing health conditions such as chronic pain, ADHD, and addiction. Think about your therapist as part of your care team, they perform an essential function in the ecosystem of health. Therapy has the capacity to lessen some symptoms, change your relationship to them, or to help you learn how to accept them.

10. Invest in yourself

Going to therapy is an investment in yourself, and it can help you create a fulfilling and meaning-driven life. You are a good investment and it’s important to prioritize yourself and your longevity. Therapy can be preventative maintenance, appropriate for an acute crisis, or an ongoing support system for you. A consultation with a therapist is a good way to get started figuring out how “therapy near me” turns from a Google search into a meaningful part of your life.

Thirty and Thriving

Entering your thirties can be a challenging and rewarding time of life. Therapy can provide you with the support, guidance, and tools you need to navigate your way through this journey of self-discovery, self-growth, and self-improvement. Going to therapy can provide you with invaluable insight, care, and support as you navigate the various aspects of life in your 30s. Whether you’re dealing with past trauma, relationship issues, mental health concerns, career changes, or adjusting to parenthood, therapy can help you manage these challenges and create a fulfilling and healthy life. Remember, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Reaching out for help demonstrates strength and commitment to your well-being. Investing in your mental health is one of the best investments you can make, and it's never too late to start. Don't be afraid to seek help when you need it - it's a sign of strength, not weakness. If you are ready to take the leap and start your therapy journey, start with a consultation.

I hope that this helps you feel more confident about starting therapy in your 30's in San Francisco. If after reading all of that, you’re still swirling with questions feel free to call me at 415-990-1452 for a free 15-minute phone consultation and to get some questions answered. I would be happy to hear what is happening for you, what you’re looking for and provide some direction to finding the right therapist for you.

Additionally, if you are seeking help with couples therapy, drugs and alcohol, life transitions, discovering yourself, or therapy for men’s issues, you can read more about how Caleb Birkhoff might be able to help by clicking here!

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