The Importance Of Therapy In Your Life
4 years ago, I concluded my very first therapy session. Don’t ask me how I was feeling before I decided that I need therapy because I can’t put the feeling into many words. But you can say that I was buzzing with nervous anticipation. I was nervous, yet, at the same time, I was looking forward to my session.
“Think of your head as an unsafe neighborhood; don’t go there alone.” – Augusten Burroughs
Therapy is such a heavy word if you look at it. When you hear someone say “therapy”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? To me, it is – empathy. The concept of therapy might seem a little daunting at first but if someone is going to therapy, they are stronger and courageous for it. I feel empathy because I was once there.
Related: Types Of Empathy You Need To Know
I was always told that people who go to therapy are “mental patients” and people who are “clinically insane” seek therapy. I was also told by many people that my depression was in my mind and with prayer and thinking positive thoughts, it’ll go away.
If you or someone you know has ever been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders then you know that praying the illness away is not helpful and neither is forcefully thinking positive thoughts.
There are so many misconceptions regarding psychotherapy that many people believe them and based on those – refuse to seek therapy. I was one of those people but then I had a thought; when I don’t hesitate to ask my mom or dad if I need help with something, why am I hesitating to ask for help when I’m stuck at a point in my life? Why is it that I’m refusing therapy when it is something that will eventually help me figure myself out?
I empathize with people who begin therapy because I understand the feeling someone is going through and how hard it is to ask for help. But don’t you realize that the therapy is there to help you move forward and get unstuck wherever in life you are?
In this article, I’ll discuss with you the importance of therapy in your life. Also, I asked some psychologists their thoughts on the need and importance of therapy in one’s life, so look out for some amazing advice!
What Is Therapy/ Psychotherapy?
Before starting therapy, it is imperative to know what is therapy. Therapy or psychotherapy is a term that is used to describe the treatment of mental health problems. The person who will assist you with your therapy is called a psychiatrist, psychologist, or simply – a therapist.
A counselor, life coach, and assistant professor at St. Xavier’s College, Jaipur, Shiromi Chaturvedi says,
“Therapy for me is finding a safe space to voice concerns faced by us and feel supported and validated in our journey of life.”
Therapy helps you learn about yourself, the root cause of your problems, your thought process, your feelings, and your behavior. It is a process that will help you learn how to respond to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions while teaching you effective coping techniques and how to manage your reactions.
There are various psychotherapies and each one of them has a different approach to treatment. You need to talk with a professional mental healthcare provider to understand which kind of therapy is best suited for you.
It is essential, during therapy, to monitor your symptoms, progress, and growth. If you are on a treatment plan, then it is important to stick to it.
The Importance Of Therapy
Mental wellness is very important to live a healthy and comfortable life. Wellness has many dimensions but the most important ones you need to keep in check are: emotional, social, and psychological. These three factors affect how we think, feel, and react.
Mental health problems are generally linked with genetics, family history, biological factors, and life experiences. There is no right or wrong when it comes to mental health difficulties. Any person regardless of their gender, sex, age, and health can develop mental health problems.
“While most of us assume therapy is only for mental health issues that don’t hold true,” says Anjali Singh, a research scholar, and psychologist. She further adds, “Therapy is also about finding your inner strengths, nurturing them, and putting them into action. It is a great channel to restart and refresh your life from a mentally strained moment. It is a great way to show that you care for yourself and those around you.”
One of the main reasons, I sought therapy was that, in the back of my mind, I knew that if I went to therapy I’ll be able to heal much sooner than if I tried to heal on my own. Therapy not only helps you with your mental health issues but can also help you with your physical health. Going to therapy can help you improve your sleeping patterns, develop a routine, and lower your pain.
Some other benefits of therapy are:
1. Self-Awareness & Self-Acceptance
“Self-awareness is the key, it helps you to know yourself better. Therapy is a journey within, it helps you explore your underlying issues. It helps you look at the darker side, gently.” – Priyancy Goyal, Psychologist Counselor (NCERT)
Asking for help can be tough but when you do reach out and ask for help from a professional therapist, they can help you understand your feelings and emotions. A big part of therapy is to accept yourself as you are – flaws and all. It is the flaws that make you – YOU. Most of us like to keep our thoughts and feelings close to our chest, afraid to reveal them to others, scared of their judgment but that is what therapy is there for.
Priyancy Goyal, a practicing metaphor therapist says, “The true answer lies within you and you need to reach to it through therapy. While you talk to your friends, you don’t reach conclusions, you push everything under the carpet. A therapist helps you to dust off that carpet. With the due course, I have started believing in it even more. Before knowing others, know YOU.”
Therapy helps you understand that you are not alone in those thoughts and experiences. All you need to do is recognize your feelings and accept them. When you accept your feelings and thoughts, you accept yourself as you are.
2. Provides Support
You might not be ready to accept the big issues but that’s why you’re in therapy. A therapist can offer you support to help you with your needs and requirements. Therapy is a safe, non-judgemental space where you can speak about your problems and ask for guidance. No need to start with the bigger issues first. Go slow and get comfortable.
One thing is for certain – you will get the support you’re looking for!
3. Unburden Your Worries
Do you feel the need to just vent out your frustrations but are unable to find a space that is safe, secure, and non-judgmental? Do you need to unburden the worries from your shoulder but don’t know where to go? Therapy is your answer. It is my understanding that by getting a few things off your chest in a safe place, you’ll feel better.
Anjali Malik, a therapist says, “Therapy for me is self-care. Doing something for ourselves to heal and grow. I think it is very important and everyone should go for it, not just when we are in a problem or worried or have issues but for mental wellbeing. Just like people exercise for staying fit they can visit a therapist to stay mentally healthy.”
The end goal is to just begin! Therapy is a space that provides you with an outlet for your worries and mental distress. It is a place where you can talk, de-stress, and relax.
4. Establish A Relationship
In the beginning, therapy can be a little difficult to go through but as you move ahead in that relationship, you’ll learn to develop strong relationships not just with your therapist but also with the people in your life – personal and professional. Therapy helps you build support systems that you can fall back on if and when needed.
5. Builds Self-Confidence
Therapy is a process that will guide you through your tough moments. Why do we go through therapy? Because we feel that the situation we’re in is debilitating. This mental exhaustion can drain you of your confidence and make you feel weak, even if you’re not. Therapy helps you restore that confidence and make you feel in control of your situation, thoughts, and emotions.
In the end, that is all we’re looking for, right? Taking back control of your emotions and not letting them control your life is how we can gain self-confidence. Therapy helps with that!
Limitations Of Therapy
Now, I’m not saying that therapy always works or it doesn’t have its cons. There are limitations to therapy that you need to understand as well. Therapy is a lengthy process and may even take weeks, months, or years to conclude. It is also a slow process. While some people may not need more than 10-12 sessions and may see positive results in only a few days, for some it may take weeks or even months to see changes in themselves. It can be frustrating for many people.
Another limiting factor to therapy is that it is a process that requires you to be vulnerable and many a time, people may not feel comfortable opening up to a virtual stranger in the first few weeks. This can delay the healing and may cause a setback.
Common Types Of Psychotherapy
- Talk therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Couples therapy
- Group therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Supportive therapy
- Animal-assisted therapy (AAT)
- Expressive arts therapy
These are only a few examples of psychotherapy approaches that are out there. To know more about the approaches, you can talk to a mental healthcare provider or visit our website.
Issues That Therapy Can Treat
Since psychotherapy is focused on treating mental health problems, it is most effective in treating issues such as:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Mood Disorders
- Major depressive disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance Abuse or Addiction
- Eating Disorders
- Binge-eating disorder
- Personality Disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Schizotypical personality disorder
- Psychotic Disorders such as Schizophrenia
Who Is A Therapist & What To Expect From Therapy
Therapists or psychologists are licensed mental healthcare professionals who specialize in helping people understand and get a better understanding of their emotional and mental skills. Not only do therapists help in processing emotions but they also help a person develop skills to help them cope with their mental health issues.
A therapist work with you, side by side – either in-person sessions or online sessions – to:
- Identify and analyze personal conflicts
- Diagnose mental health concerns
- Reduce symptoms of mental health problems
- Assist in changing unhealthy coping habits to healthy ones
- Teach or improve communication skills
- Teach how to effectively resolve emotional and mental conflicts
- Teach self-help coping skills such as deep breathing, relaxation techniques, etc.
- Improve past, present, and future relationships
Along with many other skills and techniques, therapists can help you understand yourself better and how to effectively resolve any issues that get in the way of your quality of life.
Your Mental Health Is Important…
“Seeking therapy is not just about removing mental barriers of life. It is also about acknowledging our hidden strengths and personality traits to maintain a healthy and productive balance between our inner and outer world. It is completely normal to visit a therapist just like you visit for any other physical routine checkups.” – Sanchita Meena. Clinical Psychologist
When we go to a doctor to help treat our physical wounds, why not go to a doctor to help treat our mental and emotional wounds? Therapy helps people with a wide range of issues – personal and mental. If you need help setting a future life goal, improve your relationship with your partner, or improving your mental peace then therapy is your answer.
Therapy can, at first, feel nerve-wracking and challenging to go through but once you cross the initial barrier and get more comfortable, you can learn to become more confident in your skin, gain self-acceptance, and become self-assured.
Taking care of your mental needs is as important as taking care of your physical needs. So let’s raise our voices against the stigma surrounding therapy and get the help we need.
You don’t need to go through your pain alone. You are deserving of happiness and help.
Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our services page to connect with our licensed and trained therapists – today!
“It’s okay to seek therapy.”