In May 2017 GQ cover story, Brad Pitt reported that he is currently in therapy. As I read the article, I felt surprised and excited to find Pitt talking candidly about finding a therapist and sharing personal insights. Pitt strikes me as talking the talk of someone engaged in treatment and seemingly motivated to make changes- a crucial combo for a successful outcome in my opinion. Below are 4 things we can learn for Brad Pitt about therapy:
1. Therapy doesn’t have to be a secret.
Opening up to friends and family about looking for a therapist may increase your chances of finding the right therapist for you. We look to friends and family all the time for all kinds of recommendations- restaurants, travel, hair stylists-why should a therapist be any different? Reaching out to friends and family about your search is an effective way of whittling down the overwhelming task of sifting through Google searches.
Telling trusted people in our lives about being in therapy may provide an opportunity for more support. Letting other’s know that you are going through a hard time or looking to make changes in your live gives them a chance to be a shoulder to cry on and a cheerleader.
2. “I went through two therapists to get to the right one.”
Here Pitt highlights a crucial part of finding the right therapist- it is a process! When you meet with a therapist pay attention to how you feel. I recommend giving yourself a few sessions as it’s pretty likely anxiety will be front and center the first session or two. As the anxiety dissipates -Do you feel safe? Are you feeling more comfortable with each session? Are you experiencing your therapist as attentive to your needs and invested in your well being? If not, let the therapist know! It is okay to move on and find a better fit.
3. Talk about your emotions!
Pitt shares, “I come from a place where, you know, it’s strength if we get a bruise or cut or ailment we don’t discuss it, we just deal with it. We just go on. The downside of that is it’s the same with our emotion.” Pitt’s experience is very common. Many of us get messages in one way or another that our emotions are not important and need to be stuffed down. This process results in carrying around way more than we need to! Therapy gives us a chance to explore our emotional world helping to lighten our load.
4. Own your part.
Pitt says that he has been “owning [his] side of the street.” This is really important piece. In order to make changes we have to look at ourselves. It is often much easier to see how the other people in our lives are not showing up in the way we would like them to. This data is helpful but also limiting because as much as we’d like to, we cannot change others. The only person you can change is yourself. Therapy provides a safe, nonjudgmental, and supportive space to explore shifts that will help you get what you want out of your relationships and yourself.
by Elizabeth McCarthy, MA, LPC
Elizabeth is a Psychotherapist at Mind Body Co-op