Sadly, there is still a lot of stigma associated with seeking professional help (therapy). Many people think that in order to see a therapist, things have to be "really bad" or that it suggests severe mental illness. The truth is, even very successful people embrace therapy for its benefits as being able to talk to an impartial listener who can help offer guidance can be a real benefit to your life. Life does not have to get out of control before you reach out for help.
What is Therapy and Will It Work?
Therapy—sometimes called psychotherapy, talk therapy, or counseling—is meeting with a trained professional to take care of your mental and emotional health. A therapist or counselor can provide advice about or insights into feelings and experiences that are confusing or causing stress, and can help you figure out treatment approaches for addressing persistent mental health conditions.
There is a common misconception that therapy is only for people who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. In reality, people go to therapy for all sorts of reasons: to discuss their lives and emotional ups and downs, work out conflicts, heal from trauma, improve their interpersonal skills, or to just have a safe space to talk with someone who is not a part of their personal life. So, if you are struggling and need help figuring out a way forward, seeking therapy is a really useful first step.
Be willing to be vulnerable. The more open you are about exactly what you are going through, the better a therapist can help you discover coping mechanisms that work for you.
The Most Common Reasons to See a Therapist
Many people visit a therapist over the course of their life and there is a wide range of reasons people seek therapy. Here are some of the most common reasons:
Anxiety and stress
Confidence, self-esteem, and support
Grief and loss
Trauma and PTSD
Transitions and goals
Some people have experienced unexpected and sudden changes in their lives, some people have experienced intense trauma at some stage in their life and are ready to work through it. Others seek self-exploration, or are experiencing struggles in their day-to-day living, and some people just want someone else to talk to who can be an objective listener. There are countless reasons why people seek psychotherapy and all of them are equally valid.
What Are the Benefits of Therapy?
1. Deal With The Past
Things that happen to us in the past have an effect on who we become when we get older. Events from childhood, past friendships or relationships, and all of the experiences we’ve had manifest in good and bad ways to shape who we are today.
Going to a therapist can help you work out things from your past. Whether it may be trauma or a significant event, they can help you dissect your feelings.
If you have negative feelings about an event or person, they can help your perspective. They can help get you into a more positive mindset and help you move past things you may have struggled with.
2. Understand Your Emotions
Do you find that you’re experiencing mood swings or don’t know how to manage your emotions? Therapy can be a great way to start feeling in control again.
It helps process your emotions in regard to life situations and personal relationships. It will help you to understand and manage the emotions you feel and gain a healthy perspective.
It doesn’t need to be a life-altering event or huge trauma. Even the smaller things in life can be confusing. A therapist can help you gain clarity and a better understanding of yourself.
3. Learn Healthy Coping Mechanisms
A lot of people come to therapy after having used other unhealthy coping mechanisms. People often turn to substances to help them deal with difficult situations.
These aren’t healthy long-term solutions. Therapy can help you deal with these issues and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Self-medicating doesn’t help anybody, and it usually leads to more problems.
Therapy will help you get to the cause of the problems you’re facing. You’ll learn how to cope and communicate in a productive way.
4. Help Strengthen Your Relationships
If you’re having trouble communicating with your spouse or loved one, therapy can help. Relationships can be difficult. When partners don’t feel understood or appreciated, it can cause a big strain.
Couples therapy can help you communicate better and sort through any issues you may be having. If one partner doesn’t like the idea, you can go alone. You’ll find it helpful, and it will provide you with tools for a better relationship.
5. Deal With Grief and Loss
To work through grief and loss. Therapy can help you process and cope with a loss, whether it’s due to the death of a loved one or the loss of something else of personal significance. Grief is very personal and can affect people differently. A therapist can help you work through your loss and manage emotions related to grief, such as sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, and more. You can think of a therapist as a facilitator in the healing process.
6. Help You Solve A Problem
If you’re facing hardship in your life and don’t know where to turn, therapy can help. Going to a therapist can help you come up with a solution.
A therapist can help you gain new levels of perspective. They can help you look at the issue from many different points of view. Once you’ve got clarity and a new perspective, it can help make the problem easier to solve.
7. You Won’t Feel Alone
One of the most common symptoms of mental health issues is the feeling of being all alone. When you suffer from depression or anxiety, it can make you feel like the loneliest person on earth.
Talking with a therapist about your feelings can help a lot. Having a professional validate you and tell you that you’re not alone can be very helpful. A therapist may also be able to put you in touch with a support group. This can help you meet people like you who are also struggling and help you feel less alone.
8. Deal With The Future
Life is a rollercoaster, and this won’t be the first or last time you have stuff to deal with. Things like conflict, loss, and sadness will continue to arise as you go through life.
It’s natural for these things to bring you down and make you feel upset. But therapy can help you with healthy coping strategies. A therapist will help you cope with these things in a healthy way. Then, you can bring this knowledge with you into the future.
9. Therapy Benefits Everyone
There are so many reasons to go to therapy. You don’t need to be suffering from mental health issues, therapy benefits everyone. Ultimately, therapy is about growth and creating opportunities for positive change. If you’re looking to improve yourself, why not give therapy a try?