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5 More Reasons to See a Therapist That You Won’t Believe – Part 2
Have questions about seeing a therapist? I did, too. Talk Therapy (also called psychotherapy) helps you develop coping skills, improve thought patterns, and even helps with various health conditions. You don’t have to have a severe mental health issue to benefit from good therapy. My life has changed because of it. If you’re wondering if you need therapy, then let’s talk about five more reasons to see a mental health professional. You can see the first five reasons to see a professional therapist HERE, so we’ll start with number six!
6th Reason to See a Therapist?
You Can Let Your Feelings Rip Safely
Seeing a therapist (also called a counselor or psychologist) allows you to have a time and place set aside each week to talk about you and your concerns. You can freely express your feelings about the situations that bother you without fear of hurting anyone’s feelings.
I find it a huge comfort knowing that when something is bothering me, I can process it quietly and then bounce those thoughts off of my therapist at my weekly appointment. It’s kind of like knowing you have a doctor’s appointment already scheduled for that itchy rash. You can deal with the rash knowing the doctor will help you take care of it in a few days.
And you have a built-in support structure
At my standing weekly appointment, I know that a built-in support structure is there for when I need it. Sometimes my therapist will help me walk through a conversation that I might need to have with a friend or family member. She can help me plan my words and work with me to prepare for several responses that I might get when having a tough conversation.
I have found this skill alone to be a significant part of my therapy, especially since I am a talker, and sometimes my words escape before my brain has a chance to organize them appropriately.
When you get into the routine of weekly therapy sessions, you will find yourself begin to use those sessions as a safe place to work through your challenges. Some weeks I have significant challenges and big feelings, and some weeks I enjoy sharing the successes in my life and allowing my therapist to tell me that she’s proud of me or remind me of how far I’ve come.
Talking to my therapist requires being vulnerable and honest about what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling, but I am learning through that vulnerability. She does a great job in nurturing it and helping me to feel safe when I open up.
Need a laugh? Check out Dogs are Gross
7th Reason to See a Therapist
You Will Retrain Your Brain to Deal with the Hard Stuff
Talking about your feelings can be very uncomfortable at first. As I mentioned in the first five reasons to see a therapist, I tend to default to anger whenever I have a big feeling. It took quite a while to retrain my brain to understand what I was feeling behind the anger. I am not the only person who finds it challenging to talk about my past, trauma, emotions, or other sensitive subjects. Of course, you probably already suspect that you’ll talk about some of these things in therapy, and that can be scary. It’s easy to consider just taking a medication to treat your brain. But think again.
Our culture loves to fall back on medications to help people deal with daily depression and anxiety. But did you know that talk therapy also works in conjunction with medication to rewire the brain? Science has proven that talk therapy can alter activity in several areas of the brain. Web MD says most people suffering from depression do best when using therapy, medications, or a combination of both. Don’t limit yourself to drugs when you can add some talk therapy and change your life!
As your brain gets rewired, you will learn to talk about subjects and feelings that you never felt comfortable talking about before. And as our good friend Mr. Rogers says, “if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” The skills you learn in therapy can and will automatically be put to good use outside of treatment. As your brain rewires, you will find yourself using these new skills in your everyday life.
8th Reason to See a Therapist
You Will Develop Better Self Care
Good Self-Care is SO important! Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of everyone else in your life. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true, plain, and simple. You can’t take care of those who need you when you haven’t cared for yourself. When my therapist first began asking me how I was taking care of myself, I didn’t always have a good answer.
But I am learning, and you can, too. I will occasionally go home and take a nap on counseling days because that may be just what I need to rest my brain. Sometimes I drive through McDonald’s on my way home and get a Diet Coke because we all know that McDonald’s Diet Coke is the very best, and a cool sip may be just what I need!
How does one take care of oneself if naps and Diet Cokes aren’t your things, you ask? Great question! It only takes a couple of minutes at a time, stretched out through a day, to practice simple self-care. Try out one of these ideas or use a whole day to take care of yourself!
A Few Simple Self-Care Ideas
Go for a walk or jog
Ask someone appropriate for a hug
Watch an episode of your favorite show
Read a chapter of your favorite book
Call a friend
Say something nice about yourself out loud
Read from a list of positive affirmations or make a positive affirmation jar
Pamper yourself – haircut, pedicure, manicure, facial, massage
Take yourself to a movie
Clean a drawer or a closet
If you need a quick pick me up, check out this song I love to listen to when I’m feeling down.
9th Reason to See a Therapist
You Will Inspire Other People to Get Help
Choosing to see a therapist can be a very personal decision. You don’t have to tell anyone that you’re seeing someone, and that’s okay! Don’t be surprised, though, if, after some time, you find yourself mentioning your therapist to those around you. When you start feeling more balanced and secure in yourself, you may find that you want to share that with people you care about!
When I began seeing my counselor several years ago, I felt extremely private. I went to see her during my lunch hour from work, and only my husband knew I was going. Sure enough – it didn’t take long before I mentioned my appointment to some of my trusted work friends. Next thing, I was talking about it with my adult kids. Fact is, several people I know have had their own “I’ll have what she’s having” moment and have asked me for a referral.
Once people around you begin to see you feeling better and reacting healthier to everyday stressors, they begin to want that for themselves. When you’re open about your experience with a therapist, you normalize therapy. You are a warrior against the stigma of mental health issues and may make a life-altering difference for the next person who would not have been brave enough to try therapy before hearing about it from you.
10th Reason to See A Therapist
You Learn You Are Not Alone
Once you begin to see a therapist, you may find that you are not alone. I used to think that I was the only one who struggled with low self-esteem, anger and control issues, and complex relationships with friends and family. Learning to parent adult children took a massive toll on me, and I thought I had failed because everyday struggles with my adult kids were far too frequent and derailed me far too often.
Once I began seeing my therapist, I started to know that I was not alone. Parenting adult kids is hard stuff. Turns out that our social media culture has set up a mindset that everyone else is leading a trouble-free and charmed life. If you could peek behind the curtain of what you see online, you will likely see a whole lot of other flawed humans experiencing many of the same struggles as you.
Suppose you are dealing with something specific, such as an eating disorder, divorce, or an issue of sexuality in yourself or someone you love. In that case, your therapist can not only help you maneuver through your thoughts and feelings but can also connect you with a support group filled with others who are in a similar situation. This kind of group therapy can be essential to remind you that you’re not alone.
Is Therapy for You?
We do not live in the same culture from 20 years ago when people didn’t talk about their mental health struggles or therapy. More and more people are reaping the benefits of therapy and are opening up and talking about their own experiences. As the stigma around mental health issues continues to fade, consider how therapy can make a difference in your life. Talk Therapy works for coping with everyday problems and more targeted problems such as anxiety depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc. It has an impact on your physical health as well.
If you have a lifetime to try to create your tools for working through your issues, then no rush, but if you’re ready to begin feeling healthier and changing your perspective on your life and the lives of those around you, then now is the time! Don’t wait for warning signs or symptoms of a bigger problem.
When you’re ready to leap, you can find a therapist in your area at the Psychology Today website or ask your doctor. She can not only provide medical advice, but she can also provide additional information about mental health services available for you. Since the onset of Covid in 2020, online therapy is becoming more common. You can find treatment online for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or eating disorders, to name a few. You can also find therapists specializing in couples therapy or family therapy if you’re struggling with a loved one.
If your first visit doesn’t fix all of your problems, don’t be alarmed. It takes time and effort to see long-term results. However, if you’re not feeling comfortable or connected with your new therapist after a few visits, don’t be afraid to try a new one. You must be comfortable with your therapist to reap the best results.
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