“So, you are going to pay someone to listen to you talk?” That may be one of the most common phrases you hear if you tell someone you are going to seek therapy. Therapy sessions with a mental health professional have long been ridiculed and stigmatized.
“Ridiculed” because the prospect of sharing your emotions to sort them out seems like a preposterous solution to many, and “stigmatized” because many believe that only those with severe mental illnesses need to consult a therapist. There is an off-the-record belief amongst the masses that if you see a therapist, there must be something wrong with you- a chink in the armor- or within this context, your brain.
However, despite the common misconceptions surrounding therapy, it remains one of the most effective ways of improving your mental health and overall well-being. Therapy is not a gossip center where the other person enjoys your whole life story; it is a necessary treatment for those not only dealing with mental health problems but also emotional distress.
If You Are Debating The Merits Of Visiting A Therapist
Signing up for therapy sessions allows you to work with a professional to understand why you feel how you feel and how to cope with it. It provides a safe space to seek help and manage your emotional response to your problems.
Having doubts before booking your first therapy session is only natural. But to quell your doubts, it is important to remember that the therapist you choose will know how to help you. Behind their position are multiple degrees and certificates that equip them well enough to treat you. Psychology degrees, such as an online master’s in counseling psychology, impart the best knowledge and methods to aspiring therapists, so you can rest assured that you will be in good hands.
If you are still unsure why or when you should see a therapist, the following are some common reasons people consult one to help you make your decision.
1. If You Have Been Diagnosed With Depression
Do you feel as if a persistent feeling of sadness follows you every moment of every day? Do you feel yourself losing all interest in the things you loved before? Do you find yourself awake at ungodly hours for no reason but your inability to make yourself go to sleep? If so, you may want to consult a mental health specialist, for these are some common symptoms of depression- a mental illness affecting around 3.8% of the entire world population, according to the World Health Organization.
Depression is a mood disorder that negatively impacts your emotions, thinking, and behavior. With its far-reaching effects, depression can disrupt the life you once knew and take from you in more ways than one. For those with depression, therapy is strongly recommended alongside medical treatment. While medications will help you relieve some symptoms of depression, you may still need additional support from therapy to overcome the illness. The causes of one’s depression often lie further down than the surface, and your therapist will help you identify the underlying causes of your depression, cope with them, and navigate through them.
2. If You Are Struggling With An Addiction
Addictions ruin lives, which is more of a truth than an opinion. It takes away your sense of peace, leaves you with persistent anxiety, and obscures what truly matters in life. In the constant pursuit of receiving gratification from a particular source, you lose sight of the things and relationships that deserve your time and efforts.
If you find yourself with an unhealthy fixation on a specific substance, act, or behavior, you may need to see a therapist to help overcome it. Leaving your addiction behind is far from easy. For those suffering, it can even feel impossible. Once you have been stuck in the mindset that life is meaningless without that one pill, that one drink, that one puff, it is hard to extricate yourself from that belief. However, you can overcome your addiction with the right kind of support, and therapy is one of the ways to get it.
Regular sessions with a therapist will help you on your journey to check your impulses and see life without the source of your addiction. Therapy will not only allow you to address your addiction but also help you identify and cope with the underlying causes that led to it.
3. If You Struggle With Your Self-esteem
Do you often struggle with an extreme lack of confidence in your abilities? With self-doubt so prevalent that you fear being judged and scrutinized by others? If so, you are not alone. It is estimated that approximately 85% of people worldwide have issues with self-esteem. Your perceived value of who you are as a person determines your self-esteem. Having negative regard for yourself leads to self-esteem issues, which negatively affect your mental health.
Just because you think less of yourself does not mean you are worth any less than any other person. However, improving your view of yourself and realizing your value is not as easy as reading a motivational quote and moving on. Consulting a therapist may help you build your self-esteem and feel confident about yourself. Your therapist will help you discover where your negative view of yourself stems from, how to shed it, and how to see yourself in a new and positive light.
4. If You Are Struggling With Loss Or Grief
Grief is an expected reaction to losing a loved one or even a beloved possession. However, if you find yourself grieving even after a long time, you may need to see a therapist to shed the burden of your loss. Struggling to find closure and letting your grief dictate your life can lead to further problems, so seeking help sooner rather than later can help you move on with your life in healthy ways.
Dealing with loss is difficult and ugly, and you may need time and space to come to peace with it. One cannot rush the mourning period- your heart will hurt and heal on its own. However, having support while going through the various stages of grief will help you face it better. Therapy allows you the space you need to talk through your experience, understand your emotions and find the closure you need.
5. If You Are Going Through Drastic Life Changes
A big move, new marriage, and recent parenthood are some of the many ways your life can do a complete 180-degree turn, and it can lead to distress and anxiety. While you may be able to deal with some of the changes in your life, others mayleave you feeling like you have suddenly lost control. Encountering major changes can lead to emotional distress, and seeing a therapist can help you understand those changes and develop strategies to cope with them better.
Counseling from a therapist can help you in multiple ways. However, treatment, recovery, and an overall improvement in your mental health is an ongoing journey. It takes months and years to feel better and overcome your emotional troubles. If you feel your current therapist is not working for you, you can always look for another one. You are not bound to the first therapist you go to; seeking help from someone else if your current therapist is not the right fit for you is your prerogative.