Mika Nitta, Psy.D.
My view of psychotherapy
(from Mika Nitta's blog in December 2012 after the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut)
I truly believe that psychotherapy is not just for people with problems. It is for everybody, like you and me, who feels, joy, happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. Psychotherapy is a place for people to grow. No one is perfect; therefore, psychotherapy is for everybody. It is a place where you get attention, validation, and trust. It is a place to express forgotten feelings, to organize your thoughts, to better know yourself, and to discover how to be who you truly are.
Psychotherapists spend much time being trained to focus on your needs, and not their needs. Psychotherapists spend much time learning to help you feel safe, comfortable, and secure. The goal is to enable you, in a private space, to explore the inner world and find your own answers, not their answers.
There is no one who would NOT benefit from psychotherapy. However, the motivation should come from oneself, not from friends, family, teachers or other professionals.
Psychotherapists are different from your friends and family who may try to help you with their love (and sometimes with their own agenda because of their love), which may or may not work for you.
It is sad that many people in this country seem to think "getting help" is a sign of weakness -- perhaps because of the focus of independence. The question is how people healthy lives without helping each other. We are born to be loved, cared for, and understood. Without support, it is difficult for people to thrive and remain strong.
No one has had "enough" love. Even if we do well now, our lives change in the future. We get sick and grow old, and our loved ones pass away sooner or later. There come a moment when each of us needs good, supportive attention and private time to alleviate pain and to grow further.
It is never too late for anyone to go into psychotherapy. However, it is also better to start the work of knowing oneself little by little before a problem becomes bigger.
We often see tragedies in the news, and we hear people say, "the criminal should have gotten help" from mental health professionals. When I hear comments like that, I would like to respond, "Yes, I agree. Everyone does need psychotherapy, I believe, including ourselves." If the stigma that is attached to psychotherapy has ever contributed to multiple problems in this world, I then hope to contribute to remove such stigma and to let the community know the truth of what psychotherapy can be for everybody.