If you have areas in need of improvement in your life (and, honestly, who doesn't?), you've probably read articles and books around the issues, asked friends or relatives for advice, or even sought the help of a coach or expert. But have you considered that maybe you're dancing around the real solution -- maybe you need to see an actual bona fide shrink?
Steve Tobak, writing on Entrepreneur recently, thinks may more of us should consider getting over the irrational stigma around mental health professionals and get the kind of help that will, well, actually help.
"It's become the norm to seek council from an ever-growing grab-bag of self-help authors, motivational speakers, life coaches, and self-proclaimed experts who are not the least bit qualified to change their own lives, let alone anyone else's," he writes.
"Look, don't get me wrong. If your career isn't going exactly the way you hoped it would or your business has suffered a setback or two, I'm not saying you should run out and see a shrink. But if you have significant recurring issues that have been plaguing you for years and it feels like you're not getting anywhere, it's something to consider," Tobak concludes.
The company shrink?
He's got a point. You can read all the productivity and confidence building tips you want online, but if your problem with getting stuff done or getting yourself out there stems from deep-seated fears of success, feelings of unworthiness, or other common but limiting mental health issues, no trick or technique is going to get the job done unless you confront and conquer those demons.
But given that so many of us have these sorts of challenges, could you take Tobak's logic a step further -- could you argue that not only do many entrepreneurs need to see a qualified therapist, but many whole companies could benefit from consulting one as well?
It might sound crazy, but at least one business is trying it. On Medium recently, Jerome Ribot, co-founder of ribot, explained why his business had engaged a therapist to help staff with personal challenges.
"ribot is a services company. It sells the time of its staff so that they can research, design and build digital products for other companies," he writes, explaining that "people are central to the success of our business."
And almost all people, he notes, are at least a little bit crazy sometimes. Given the reality that even the highest functioning of us have some issues, and that, in many knowledge and creativity-dependent jobs, these issues impact both the quality of our work our and the satisfaction we take in it, the logical conclusion according to ribot is to hire someone to help folks work through their mental health kinks.
"To assume that each ribot can rationally leave these issues at the door and come through into the studio each day to perform the tasks required of them, to manage the natural stresses that come with having a full-time job, to think that they can separate home life from work life, well, it's just simply misguided. It's wrong to ask that of people. And even in the absurd situation where we were to ask, I'd be very surprised to find anyone who could do that with any degree of consistency," he writes.
The solution? "Life-coach. Counsellor. Therapist. Call it what you will. We've decided to hire one," Ribot writes. Four days a month a therapist is on site to discuss with employees any issues that are troubling them in an entirely confidential setting. Most of the staff have taken the company up on the offer and while the benefit is new, "I just know that opening up, confronting and potentially overcoming any of the things that might be on one's mind will do that person a wealth of good. The company, I expect, will benefit as a result," Ribot believes.
And if you have a people-led business, he suspects, something similar would also benefit your company. Not because your staff is particularly crazy, but because "mental health is an issue for anyone with a brain."
What do you think of Ribot's idea of company-provided therapy?