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Do I really need therapy? Usually, I handle my own problems.

answered 02:50 AM EST, Thu June 09, 2011
Tobin Brewster Tobin Brewster New Orleans
A decade ago, I survived a car crash that killed my wife. It wasn't our fault. But to this day I have memories of my wife crying out for me as she lay dying. I simply cannot get over it.

I have remarried now for 6 years. My new wife is suggesting I should see a professional therapist. It is very unlike me and I'd like to think there are alternatives... What do you suggest, what are the benefits of seeking treatment? I am not rich, and a long therapy would put a big financial strain on my family...

Ed Schmookler Says...

Hello, Tobin.

I am very sorry for the loss of your wife. I don't think we "get over" such huge losses. But we do move on, and it is good to see that you have done so, with a new person in your life.

The question about whether you should see a therapist is a good one. You are not just dealing with loss; you are dealing with a traumatic memory. Why does your wife think you "should" see a therapist? Does she feel this trauma stands in the way of your having a full life? Does she see you in what she thinks is unnecessary, chronic pain?

A good therapist can help you move through and past the traumatic memory that may be keeping part of you frozen in the past.  It can be a painful process, but afterward, the pain can subside, and you can have more freedom in your life, more chance for living in the present, and more potential for joy.

You certainly don't want to put a financial strain on your family, so it would be good to go to therapy only as long as is needed to resolve this better.

I think it is great to handle your own problems. But would you do that with your physical health too and avoid seeing a doctor? Ultimately, you will be handling the problems yourself; the only question is, could you benefit also from the help of another person?

As men, we don't like stopping and asking for directions, but sometimes it can shorten the trip.

It is your choice and only you know what is best for you.

Sincerely,

Ed

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Page last updated Jun 09, 2011

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