A number of misconceptions exist about talking to mental health professionals. In fact, there’s a stigma that talking about your emotions is considered weak or shameful, or something to make fun of. It is often this stigma that prevents people from seeking help.
In reality, therapy is a very helpful tool that can help with a wide variety of issues, from anxiety to insomnia to relationship problems to grief. Experts say that even if you don't have a medical condition, therapy is still worth doing. This is because it has proven to be very effective in treating mental health disorders.
Still not convinced? Here are nine reasons why you should see a therapist.
1. The purpose of therapy is maintenance and support, not crisis management.
“One of the main issues I have with how most people view therapy is they tend to view it the same way they view the fire alarm – ‘To Be Used In Case of Emergency,’” says Shannan Blum, M.S., LMFT, CEDS, CCATP-CA. “They see it as crisis management, something reserved for only the darkest of moments.”
It is important to recognize that no matter how well adjusted and healthy you are, you can always learn more about yourself and your relationships. “Think about it with a different context in mind like your physical health and the gym,” she adds. “Just because you are in good shape, doesn’t mean you stop going to the gym – or your doctor, does it? Of course not! Our exercise regimens aren’t fixed, but instead, they vary so we don’t hit plateaus.”
In order to become stronger and more agile, our muscles must be tested in new ways. In the same way, we do not refuse to go to our physical doctor when we are well. “We attend our well-visits regularly, we discuss our concerns with them and our goals,” she says. “So it is (or should be) with our mental, emotional and interpersonal world – we can be holding ourselves with a similar sensibility and accountability with our mental health and discussing these same types of goals and issues with our therapist for our overall well-being, not just crisis management.”
2. You experience mood swings unexpectedly.
Consider talking to someone if you've noticed a more negative mood or thought processes, such as feeling overwhelmed by worry or sadness. Such symptoms may indicate mental health problems. Talking to a therapist can help you figure out what's wrong, as well as offer advice on how to cope with these feelings.
3. A significant event occurs in your life.
We are sometimes faced with life-changing events that may affect our mental health. Examples include;
A loss of employment
Separation from your spouse
Life-changing events that are traumatic
You may have difficulty coping with grief on your own. To identify your grief and feelings of loss or adjustment, talk to a therapist.
4. You’ve been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
There are many common mental health disorders for which psychotherapy is part of the treatment. Among these disorders are;
Bipolar disorder. Symptoms include mood swings. Suddenly, you might feel depressed and hopeless after being extremely happy and energetic. Additionally, you may have episodes of irritability and compulsive behavior.
Eating disorder. Men can also suffer from these disorders, but they are more prevalent in women. The danger sign of one type is becoming dangerously thin by not eating. Eating a lot of food and then forcing yourself to vomit can also be an indicator of an eating disorder. It's also a warning sign if you overeat to the point where you become overweight.
PTSD. An event or period in your life that was traumatic or dangerous may trigger warning signs. You may experience unpleasant flashbacks and nightmares as a result. To avoid such occurrences, you may have to avoid certain activities.
Substance use disorder. An early warning sign is the inability to control substance use. Despite the fact that it is causing problems in your life, you might not be able to stop using it.
You may benefit from therapy if you are having difficulties managing your emotions, thoughts, or behaviors. You can receive counseling for a short or long period of time. Individual sessions or group sessions can be arranged. Stress reduction techniques, relaxation techniques, and meditation are also possible.
5. A stranger can be easier to talk to than someone you know.
While many people think talking to their best friend, parent, or sibling is sufficient, it isn't. Yes, these people know you best. Occasionally, the best way to identify a bad habit or unusual behavior is to speak to a stranger. Therapists are skilled in digging deeper and reaching different conclusions than passive listeners.
A licensed therapist will help you understand the situation from a new perspective. If you cry because of a broken heart, your friends may sympathize with you, as an example. With the assistance of a therapist, you can make sense of things that probably puzzle those who are close to you.
6. Physical symptoms get treated, too.
Even general ennui or psychological trauma can trigger physical symptoms - and depression and anxiety can have devastating effects on the body. It may be possible to overcome these issues if you attend therapy.
“There have been some studies that show that many physical ailments are ameliorated when someone engages in therapy,” says Marian Margulies, Ph.D. “When people do not express feelings but swallow them and keep them buried and out of conscious awareness, one's body often reacts. It acts as a barometer that reads: danger! Something is amiss and needs attention. Somatizing via stomach aches, headaches, sleeping problems, and ulcers are just some of the ways our body reacts to stress and psychic pain.”
7. You are pushed out of your comfort zone.
Therapy can be frightening for some people. Specifically, the unknown can prevent some people from seeking help. It can also be uncomfortable to sit in a room with a stranger and talk about things that you shy away from.
It's difficult to imagine how someone you don’t know could understand, relate, and make you feel better. What can this individual do to make you feel better?
Well, a therapist can help you feel better. With that in mind, don't let being fearful stop you. You have to remember this is their job. This isn't as simple as approaching a random person on the street and telling them that you’re anxious or having difficulty with a relationship.
Making the effort to do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone can be liberating and rewarding.
8. You learn more about yourself.
In order to effectively manage your emotions, the problems that you're choosing not to face, the motivation behind your actions, your coping mechanisms, or your behavior patterns, it is essential that you are aware of them.
Sadly, many people never stop to question themselves. Having trouble with a relationship, for instance, can cause us to strike out at others. In turn, this can worsen the relationship worse. The thing is, we rarely take the time to sit down and accept that we are to blame.
You must do that as part of therapy. You can eventually change your behavior patterns and build better relationships this way. By allowing yourself to experience this, you are able to come to conclusions more easily, feel more at peace with who you are and your surroundings, and understand every aspect of yourself you have been ignoring.
9. Smart and successful people actively seek therapy.
It's not because people are weak that they go to therapy. Quite the contrary.
Strong people are not afraid of their problems; weak people run from them. They are not afraid to learn more about themselves and to be vulnerable. They also realize the long-term value of being vulnerable and learning about themselves.
It is equally important to reflect regularly and to express yourself as well as to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and sleep well.