The reason for writing this piece is purely personal. I have experienced mental health issues for the past couple of years and thanks to therapy sessions, I was finally able to address my child abuse trauma.
Since then, I have moved from availing mental health services to providing mental health support. The primary reason I came to such a decision was that it took so long to come across a therapist that I could work with. In fact, I had to go through 10 of them.
Most of the therapists I came across were either unable to deal with my sexuality, or couldn’t deal with my trauma or experience, and yet they wanted me to hire them. Going such a hard time to seek help can be very frustrating, particularly if you do not know what to look for in a therapist.
There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental health and it is the primary reason that most people hesitate to look for help. Fortunately, the topic is being addressed more and more, thanks to national campaigns, people sharing their personal stories and the remarkable efforts of charities.
Well, the conversation on mental health should know shift from just seeking help to gaining awareness and what to do in order to find the right kind of help.
So, what is Psychotherapy & Counseling?
This is a program that gives you the required time to contemplate and discuss the issues that are holding you back from living a normal and fuller life. Psychotherapy and counseling are done in a safe, non-judgmental and confidential manner. It works best when a collaborative relationship is created between you and the therapist.
You get to explore your feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that might be causing physical and emotional distress. Together as a team, you will discover new ways of coping and moving past those experiences, thus allowing you to move on with your life.
A word of caution before starting your search…
It is important to keep in mind that this field is not yet regulated, but it’s expected to be in the near future. As such, it is crucial that you shop around and do your homework before choosing a therapist. Here are a few tips to do that properly.
How Long Have They Been in Business?
When did the potential therapist qualify and where did they obtain their qualification? What areas do they specialize and what methods do they utilize? Are they accredited? If so, with which body? It is generally best to pick a therapist who has been in the industry for a significant period as they are more likely to understand your situation and may have dealt with a similar situation before. Remember that it’s your mental health and just like you would no trust your oral health with any dentist, you should not entrust your mental health with any therapist.
What are the Approaches?
Saying there are numerous forms of therapy is an understatement. In fact, there are over 400 methodologies. If you are thinking of engaging in therapy, you do not need to know what all approaches entail. All you need is a sense of what will work for your situation and equal in a therapeutic environment and relationship as well.
Most individuals realize this after the first positive therapy experience, where they feel heard and supported. Others do not like the approach whereby a therapist sits back and says too little. Some prefer a specialist who utilizes a ‘hands-on’ approach when it comes to solving problems.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the better-known approaches that involve identifying faulty or negative thinking. For example: ‘I will never succeed at anything, I’m stupid’. The therapist then takes a look at the knock-on behavior. If an individual thinks this way, then it’s safe to assume that they will experience negativity, low mood, low motivation and array of others things that are best described as common depressive symptoms.
The psychodynamic approach tends to work well in assessing older problems that may have their origin in early development years when the individual was growing up.
Utilizing mindfulness in therapy has become quite popular. That is because it helps the patient gain more awareness but less engulfed by their experiences. There are numerous situations whereby we feel carried away by our feelings and thoughts and they tend to have control over us instead of knowing how to direct them. Well, this practice in psychotherapy and counseling increases your ability to observe your feelings and thoughts without the risk of being overwhelmed and consumed by them.
Considering the sophistication and variation of human beings, there certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all and that’s why there exists the integrative approach to counseling and therapy. This popular approach aims to combine an array of elements from various techniques that work for a particular person.
According to reports, 1 of 4 people will suffer mental health issues at one point in life and it is believed that the issue is actually way bigger.
Illness, trauma, loss of employment, losing a loved one, workplace stress and aging are just a few examples of situations that can lead to the development of mental health conditions and there is no denying that they are all a part of our everyday lives.
As such, it makes sense to proactively learn coping skills, develop self-awareness and invest in ourselves. It is the only way to ensure that we live healthy and happy lives that are not held back. Ideally, the best way to ascertain that you don’t become a slave to your mental issues is to avail an ideal therapist. The tips mentioned in this reading will certainly help you pick the right one.