When considering mental health therapy, we need to remove the negative stigma it elicits. Therapists deal with a broad range of everyday challenges regarding parenting, relationships, and more. Too many people equate seeking mental health therapy as a sign of weakness, or an indication that there is something seriously deficient within them.
Quite the opposite is true, in fact. Recognizing the need for help shows great insight, strength, and determination. People with good mental health are in control of their emotions and behaviors. They have the ability to build strong relationships and lead productive, fulfilling lives. When they encounter bad times or adversity, they have the ability to handle it and move on.
Mental or emotional health refers to how you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships and your ability to handle change or stress. You do not necessarily have to be in crisis mode to benefit from professional therapy. You cannot change your past, but you can certainly learn to adapt and move on.
Therapy can help you solve serious issues in your life, reduce or eliminate depression and anxiety, and can improve your social skills and even work performance and motivation. Recent studies have concluded that one in five people in the U.S. suffer from one form of depression or another. Studies have also shown that less than 20% of them will seek professional therapy.
Consider the following red flag warning signs to determine if you should seek professional help:
~ Feeling depressed, hopeless, or helpless much of the time
~ Using food, alcohol, smoking, or drugs to cope with difficult emotions
~ Negative thoughts or emotions that you are unable to control
~ Inability to sleep or concentrate
~ Mood swings or emotions that are negatively affecting your work or home life
~ Illegal substance abuse
~ Inability to maintain flexibility and balance in your life
~ Excessive addiction to television, computer, video games, sleeping, etc.
If you have made consistent efforts to improve your emotional health without success, your next step should undoubtedly be to seek professional assistance. Why would you not want to avail yourself of all available resources to regain your emotional equilibrium?
Choose a therapist who has experience and skills in the treatment of your particular issue. Bonding with the therapist is crucial to the success of your treatment. He/she should be nonjudgmental, non-confrontational, and compassionate.
You must feel comfortable enough with the therapist to proceed with full honest and disclosure of your emotions and behaviors. Therapy is not the place to hold back the truth, no matter what the circumstances. If you are uncomfortable with your therapist for any reason, first discuss this issue with him/her. If you remain unsatisfied with the relationship after honest communication, find another therapist. Trust and truth are crucial components to successful therapy.
Everyone is different and not every approach will be equally beneficial to all. However, therapy in general can provide you with tool and techniques to better handle your own mental and emotional health.
Life is too short to waste portions of it to darkness, sadness, or despair. You are not only helping yourself when you seek therapy, but you are helping your family, friends, and loved ones as well.