Therapy and counselling are important aspects of treatment for a host of emotional and mental health problems. Sharing your thoughts and feelings or simply talking about something that’s weighing you down with someone who not only listens to you but also cares for you, can be therapeutic.
Although sharing your problems with your close friends and family is helpful, you sometimes need extra support, an outside perspective or some expert guidance that only a therapist or counselor could provide. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges and make positive changes in your life.
Seeking therapy does not imply that you have been diagnosed with a mental health problem. Many people go into therapy for everyday concerns like relationship troubles, job stress or self-doubt. Hence it’s important to choose a therapist you can trust, someone who is non-judgmental and patient, and who helps you become stronger and more self-aware.
Why is therapy needed in addition to medication?
As appealing as it may sound, popping a pill each day is not a solution to your problems. Mental and emotional problems have different causes which medications alone cannot cure. The medicine helps ease symptoms but is associated with several side effects. Besides, medicines cannot fix your relationships, help you figure out what to do with your life or even give you an insight into why you continue to make unhealthy choices. Although challenging, therapy will give you long-lasting benefits that would go beyond symptomatic relief.
What are my therapy options?
It is important to note that no one type of therapy is best and it all depends on individual preferences.
Common types of therapies include:
- Individual therapy: It explores negative thoughts and feelings as well as the harmful or self-destructive behaviors associated with them.
- Family therapy: It involves treating more than one member of the family at the same time to help the family resolve conflicts and improve interaction.
- Group therapy: Facilitated by a professional therapist, it involves a group of individuals working on the same problem such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse.
How can I choose the right therapist?
Medical health professionals who have advanced training and are certified by their respective boards include psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage & family therapists, family counselors, licensed professional counselors and social workers.
Finding the right therapist takes time and effort. You need to find someone you can comfortably talk about difficult subjects and share intimate secrets with. Unless you have this bond with your therapist, your therapy won’t be effective.
- Experience: Look for a therapist who is experienced in treating problems that are like yours. Therapists often have special areas of focus such as depression or eating disorders.
- Check to license: Make sure the therapist holds a valid license. Also, check for reviews of the therapist.
- Trust your gut: You may have found a great therapist but if you don’t trust the person, look for another therapist. A good therapist will respect your choice and will never make you feel guilty.
How can I make the most of my therapy?
Start implementing what you learn in your sessions in real life. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your therapy:
- Be honest with your therapist. Do not be embarrassed, ashamed or afraid to share with them.
- Stay committed to your treatment. Do not skip sessions unless you absolutely must.
- Your therapist can only guide and help you with suggestions for your treatment. It’s up to you to make the changes you need and move forward.
Remember, it is important to evaluate your progress to ensure you’re getting what you need out of your therapy. Things won’t work out overnight. The progress will be slow, full of twists and turns. Be patient and don’t get discouraged over temporary setbacks. Work with your therapist in re-evaluating your goals and progress. However, remember that therapy isn’t a competition. Not meeting your goals in the number of sessions that you originally planned doesn’t mean that you have failed. Focus instead on overall progress and what you’ve learned along the way.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.