This Blog is NOT for You! (Part 1)

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By Tiffany Sankofa

pieces of my soul

scattered weekly on your couch;

You hand them back to me,

one at a time,

helping me decide

what stays,

where it goes,

what i release,

and what



to begin with.

This Isn’t For You

If you are one of my regular blog or newsletter readers, this blog isn’t necessarily for you. It’s for the people you run into who tell you they don’t need therapy, even though it’s pretty clear that therapy could be helpful to them. It’s for the people who tell you that you are wasting your time in therapy, even though you have been able to make positive changes in your life through the therapeutic work you have done.

Please share this with them.

Human Connection

A lot of people read a whole lot of books, listen to podcasts, pour through self-help workbooks, all in a quest for healing. I do not in any way disparage those activities. There is some really good stuff out there. At the same time, the knowledge we gain through different sources is not sufficient to heal our deepest wounds, or to move us toward real and lasting change.

If it were true that reading about things was all the therapy we needed, every mental health professional would be 100% healed and together, not in need of support, encouragement or growth. All the things we read in school would have us minted as perfectly healthy individuals, ready to take on anything that comes our way.

I don’t think I’m exactly telling tales out of school when I say this is untrue. Therapists need therapists at times too. We need supervision and peer supervision, healthy-enough friends and partners. If we refuse to be hypocrites, we will work perpetually on our issues and our healing.

What It’s Not

Therapy is not about having all the answers. “The answers” are not sufficient for human healing. Therapy is not advice either. In fact, I wrote a whole blog about what therapy isn’t. You can read it here, or listen to it here.

Therapy can be helpful because it can give us a place to put the things inside our heads, outside of our heads, in the presence of another who is trained to help us see the things we might look right through and reconsider the things we do see with a broader perspective than the loop of our own thinking. That skilled external person can help us see where our thinking has trapped us, but even more importantly, they stay connected with us in the middle of whatever comes up.

That’s more important than you might realize. All human healing happens in the context of connection with another human being. It’s hard wiring.

The Healing Power

For example, at its root, trauma is a break in our connection to others. We experience something horrible, whether a one-time event or a chronically traumatic environment. The horribleness of it stops us cold. The memories literally freeze in our cells in an attempt to save us. (You can learn more about that here, in Why Bunnies Don’t Get PTSI.) In that awful moment, we are disconnected from everyone and everything.

Healing starts in the first moment we meaningfully reconnect with another human being. The connection tells us that we can find safety again. Connection with others literally heals the cells in the prefrontal cortices of our minds, restoring our ability to manage error correction, problem solving, risk/reward as well as meaningful social connection. (You can read more here. Please forgive the neurotypical bias of the writers around social cueing and Autism.)

All Mental Health

In similar fashion:

  • Anxiety can leave us feeling alienated from others as if there’s something terribly flawed in us that causes us to confuse possibility and possibility.
  • In a depressive episode, we can disappear into ourselves and lose connection with others. The lack of external input reinforces depression’s lies.
  • Shame is an inherent social disconnection, as we believe we are somehow not good enough because of how we have behaved.
  • Addictions disconnect us from others as substances alter the frontal lobes and confound our ability to navigate our interactions with others and with the world around us.
  • Personality disorders are, at their heart, a breakdown of the process by which we learn we are distinct human beings in a community of equally important human beings.
  • In a psychotic episode, we become completely untethered from the reality of the other humans around us.
  • While I don’t see ADHD and Autism as “disorders,” they appear in the DSM due to the way neurospiciness (neurodiversity,) goes against the grain of neurotypical social and behavioral expectations. It’s about our connection and disconnection with others.

All mental health challenges include some version of this social disconnection. Therapy can help us experience and practice renewed connection in those wounded places. We cannot do that in theory. We have to practice with people.

Next Steps

In my next blog, I’ll cover the more practical part of finding a therapist that’s right for you. In the meantime, I encourage anyone hesitant to engage in therapy to carefully consider why you are hesitating. Don’t talk yourself into therapy: Seriously consider what holds you back and use those reservations to more completely explore what does and does not serve you.

And read my next blog! I will cover many of those very things, not to talk you into therapy, but rather to help you make whatever decision that serves you best at this time.

In part three, I’m going to candidly cover the atrocious historic legacy of mental health care and explore ways to determine whether a particular therapist might be safe from a diversity perspective.

Stay tuned!

Are you considering therapy? Are there things that hold you back? Contact Tiffany today. I’m happy to help you sort through it all and make whatever decision suits you best.