Since the tender age of eleven I have spent more hours than I can count and more of my, my parents, and maybe more regrettably, the state's, money on every type of counseling, therapy, psychology and psychiatry. I have been treated with everything from daily self affirmation to antideprssants (a whole other node, coming soon to an E2 near you). What I have learned is this:

Therapy is not paying 60+ dollars an hour to a "professional" to decipher why the asshole at work or your self righteous stepfather make you very angry.

Therapy is not simply placing the care of your psyche in the hands of the cash cow that the mental health field has become.

Therapy is whatever cultivates in you a sense of self respect and appreciation for your beautifully idiosynchcratic being. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, what does that mean? It means that you take that demeaning little voice inside you head, contrary to popular belief it is not an original part of your essence, and you demean that little voice until you can confidantly say, "He doesn't live here anymore."

Therapy is however you spend an afternoon doing something you enjoy and makes you feel like you have accomplished something that you are proud of. Cooking, writing, programming, dancing, exercise, learning and a million other things.

Therapy is an act. It is anything that makes you a better person than you were before you committed it.

The next time you feel the need to set aside an hour of your life to being seen by a "professional" whose own idiosynchratic being cannot possibly understand yours as well as you can, stop and take two hours to go and do something you want to do. Read a book in the park, go see that movie that no one else wanted to see, stare at the stars in the sky, feed the ducks, and do it alone without the company or competition of your friends or their egos. Without that demeaning little voice.

The most important part of therapy is what comes when you know that you deserve better than the life that you have settled for. This is called the Healing Process.

Healing is when you don't feel raw and exposed in the presence of the thoughts that at one time, ate you up inside.

Healing is knowing that you will be okay, when you can go out into the world and see the beauty that is lifts up to you everyday in the seasons and the myriad opportunities just waiting for you to actualize them. Healing is seeing light and prospect and hope in mankind. When you are healed, please, make an effort to be a part of someone else's healing. I promise you, they will never forget it.

**I would like to note that in the case of suicidal urges or one of the more serious mental afflictions where reality is truly altered (i.e., schizophrenia, mpd, severe and uncontrollable manic/bipolar disorders (and not the "manic depression" that is so flagrantly mis-diagnosed) degenerative mental diseases and many others) I am not suggesting these tactics as a replacement for proper medical attention.