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Three Reasons Therapy Is Like A Dental Cleaning

Though I’m not privy to all the research on the matter, I dare say that people who keep regular dental appointments enjoy significantly better oral health over the course of their lives than people who do not. I imagine that the same principle might hold true for emotional/mental health. Allow me to hypothesize as to why that might be the case:
(c) Can Stock Photo

1. Stuff builds up over time.

Crud between the teeth is a natural casualty of eating. Since we all have to eat to live, it stands to reason that we are all going to battle teeth crud from time to time. It’s natural. There are professionals who make a living by helping others through the process of crud removal. When the crud builds up again, the crud removal recommences. We tend to accept as normal that this cycle will repeat on a yearly basis.

Crud within our thoughts and feelings seems to be a natural casualty of living. Since we all interact with others in order to successfully live in society, it stands to reason that we are all going to battle thought and feeling crud from time to time. It’s natural. There are professionals who make a living helping others through the process of crud removal. When the crud builds up again, the crud removal recommences. The duration of the cycle may differ depending upon a variety of factors, but it’s my guess that the crud-build up/crud-removal cycle will probably play out more than once in the course of a life span.

 

2. The less entrenched the crud, the easier it is to remove.

Though I am not proud to say so, I will admit that I do not keep regular dental appointments. I will even be so bold as to confess that I’ve sometimes gone several years between professional cleanings. I am convinced that my reluctance to make a cleaning appointment stems directly from the unpleasant experiences I’ve had in the dental hygienist’s chair. As one might expect, teeth crud gets pretty comfortable over time. It does not like to be poked or prodded (much less removed) once it has found a cozy little home in between my molars. I’m aware that, left unchecked, my tooth crud is likely to morph into more serious tooth decay. Still, I put off making an appointment for a cleaning. When I finally do so, the process is a little more time-consuming than it might have been had I called earlier. Almost certainly, the degree of pain I’ll experience in the crud removal process is far greater than what it might have been had I kept a regular cleaning schedule. Of course, any cleaning at all is better than none. My teeth and gums surely benefit from professional attention at any point, it’s just that waiting may make things more challenging.

Just like teeth crud, it’s likely that thought and feeling crud gets pretty comfortable over time. It does not like to be poked or prodded (much less removed) once it has found a cozy little home in a person’s worldview. However, left unchecked, thought and feeling crud may morph into more serious self-esteem or relationship decay. Just like delaying a teeth cleaning might leave you in the dental hygienist’s chair for longer than you’d like, postponing therapy could make the healing process more time-consuming and possibly more painful than earlier intervention might have been. Of course, any involvement with therapy is better than none at all. Feelings and relationships surely benefit from professional attention at any point, it’s just that waiting may make things more challenging.

3. A second set of eyes and another pair of hands makes the maintenance process run more smoothly.

Teeth are cavernous little structures. Food particles can easily wedge their way – often undetected – into the nooks and crannies within and between teeth. Regular brushing helps remove much of that debris. Flossing gets even deeper into potential teeth crud issues. Still, a dental hygienist’s snazzy mirror and teeny, tiny pick-ish tool render him able to be even more thorough in his cleansing efforts. With the proper tools, he can help locate, pull out and toss away problem crud you might never have accessed on your own.

Relationships and emotions are also complicated, cavernous entities. Self-doubt, hurt and other unpleasant particles can easily wedge their way into the nooks and crannies within our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we even help shove the crud away by pretending it isn’t there or hoping that it will go away on its own. Journaling, physical activity and artistic outlets can help remove much of that debris. Meditation and close friendship connections can help get even deeper into potential thought and feeling crud issues. Still, a therapist’s unbiased perspective and skill in identifying problematic patterns render her able to help clients find room to courageously explore difficult thoughts and feelings. Working as a team, you and your therapist can locate, pull out and toss away problem crud you might never have accessed on your own.

Strong teeth are essential for enjoying a lifetime of scrumptious food and pleasant smiles. Strong self-worth and emotionally connected relationships are essential for a enjoying a lifetime of closeness, security and support. You could probably access much joy through your own cleansing rituals, but you deserve thorough crud removal that comes through enlisting an extra set of hands and another pair of eyes.

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