Every Tuesday afternoon, I go to therapy. It’s in my g-cal as a recurring event. If my friends want to plan something with me during that time, I unabashedly tell them to pick a different time because I’ve got an appointment with my therapist.
I have had a therapist since I was in fifth grade. One of the smartest things I’ve done since coming to college was finding a therapist in this city as well. However, despite the fact that I often feel like an old soul and people often think I’m older than I am, I am not a Millennial and therefore not an official member of the “therapy generation.” But I don’t believe that my older peers have a monopoly on what is arguably the most important and effective form of self-care.
Millennials may have been the first generation to embrace therapy in a public manner, but it's Gen Z that has made it trendy.
Don’t believe me? Just look at all the memes and tweets. We don’t just admit to being in therapy; we joke about how our therapists are disappointed with our choices. This isn’t just a comedic vehicle, but it allows us to demonstrate that therapy is a process in which we are allowed and encouraged to identify our own areas for growth and improvement.
With that being said, our experiences with it may differ from those of our parents or even our older siblings.
Laying on a couch and talking about our feelings may not be enough for Gen Z.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with needing a safe space to work through emotions and traumas. But our generation is one that constantly feels a sense of urgency. That leads me to believe that Gen Z may want to shift the therapy landscape to one that facilitates more than just self-improvement.
I can’t speak for everyone, but in addition to my own anxiety regarding myself, I often feel the weight of much bigger problems on my shoulders.
Gun violence, health care, climate change, and immigration are just some of the topics constantly covered in the news, and my fears about them are not easily separated from my fears about my personal life.
So while my therapist knows about my boy drama and self-esteem issues, she also knows about my legislative priorities and which candidates I am supporting in 2020. While it is important that I spend my therapy sessions unpacking my week and strategizing healthy coping mechanisms, I also feel the need to spend them talking about ways I can be even more politically active and ways to organize those around me to do the same.
As evidenced by the massive turnout for both March for our Lives and the Climate Strike, Gen Z is not a group willing to sit back and let other people solve the problems. So whether those problems are our own or the world’s, we are going to want to use therapy as a time to formulate concrete solutions.
What should you expect as more members of Gen Z enter therapy? I’d say that it’s safe to assume that many will emerge with lists of both breathing techniques and upcoming protests. In the words of another trendy tweet format, “Once I go to therapy, it’s all over for you bitches.”