Psychotherapy — or, as it is more commonly known, just therapy — is a powerful tool used by millions of people each year. In the right circumstances, therapy and professional counseling offer a safe and comfortable space to share your thoughts and feelings and acquire skills to help you deal with challenges in your life.
It can seem daunting to reach out to a therapist. You may feel nervous about being vulnerable in therapy, worried it won’t work with your busy schedule, or unsure if your problems constitute needing therapy. However, anyone can benefit from mental health services, as long as they’re willing to take the first step in reaching out — and many only wish they had sooner.
Signs That You Might Benefit from Therapy
The following are signs that might be time to seek out therapy or that you should explore mental health treatment:
- You’ve got a lot going on right now.
- You can’t talk to your friends and family members about what’s going on.
- You feel like you’ve run out of resources.
- People around you are concerned.
- You can’t focus on anything else.
- You’re experiencing biological changes.
- You’re feeling isolated and alone.
- You’re ready to change!
- You’ve always been curious.
- You want a trusted someone to be your ally.
Essentially, if you want to start therapy or think you could find value in this process, that is reason enough. And nothing should stand in your way!
When to Go to Therapy
If you’re still unsure when it might be time to go to therapy, consider: Therapy is an appropriate place to go if you’re experiencing emotional interferences, unusual behaviors, persistent or intense distress, or trouble functioning in your day-to-day activities.
Negative feelings are a normal and healthy part of life. However, when negative feelings interfere with your life on a daily basis, it might be time to see a therapist. Emotional interference can include:
- Difficulty coping with challenges
- Overwhelming or ongoing feelings of anxiety
- Persistent guilt, anger, or sadness
- Low self-esteem
Unusual behavior is also a sign that you might benefit from therapy. These include behaviors that are outside of societal norm and/or causes distress within the person and others, such as antisocial or violent tendencies. Therapy can help find the root cause of these behaviors and find ways to prevent them.
In addition, you should consider going to therapy if you’ve experienced a traumatic, stressful, or otherwise major life event. For example, therapy is a helpful resource for those who have just had a child, gone through a breakup, or lost a loved one. If you’ve experienced trauma, therapy is also a crucial tool for working through it and discovering healthy coping mechanisms.
A common misconception about therapy is that it’s reserved for people with serious mental illnesses. While therapy is a great tool for those living with a mental disorder, it can help anyone with everyday problems, both big and small.
What Will I Learn or Do in Therapy?
What you’ll learn or do in therapy is typically personalized to you and your needs. When deciding on your treatment plan, your therapist will take a variety of factors into account, including:
- Learning style
In addition, the modalities a therapist uses typically plays a big part in determining what your therapy or counseling sessions will look like. There are five major forms of psychotherapy:
- Psychodynamic therapy. This form of therapy typically involves an assessment of mental and emotional developments. It focuses on engaging in self-exploration in order to gain healthier habits.
- Cognitive therapy. This therapy seeks to tackle negative emotions and experiences by replacing negative thought patterns and attitudes with healthier ones.
- Humanistic therapy. This therapy takes a holistic approach and emphasizes the vast potential for growth that patients have.
- Integrative therapy. This broad category combines various psychological approaches, depending on the client’s needs.
- Behavior therapy. This therapy focuses on changing destructive behaviors in order to improve symptoms of mental illness.
Within those categories are more specific approaches to therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and person-centered therapy. Each type has different interventions, such as teaching coping skills or understanding and naming emotions.
In therapy, you can usually expect to be assessed and possibly diagnosed. A licensed therapist or counselor will typically start off by getting to know you, your symptoms, and what you hope to gain from therapy. They will then collaborate with you to create a therapeutic treatment plan, which will consist of goals (intended outcome) and objectives (what the client will do to meet their goal). From there, a therapist will identify interventions (what the therapist does to help the client meet their goal).
What Are the Benefits of Going to Therapy?
There are a variety of benefits of going to therapy. Everyone could use someone to talk to from time to time — therapy offers an important outlet to share what’s on your mind and talk through the challenges you’re facing, as well as a source of emotional support. This alone can make a significant difference in your mood.
Additionally, a therapist can offer you a variety of skills and interventions to actively target negative behaviors, feelings, or thought patterns. These include things like cognitive restructuring, journaling, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Therapy has the potential to make a variety of observable differences in your life. Some of these include:
- Improved emotional and mental wellbeing
- Ease in day-to-day functioning
- Reduced symptoms of mental illness
- Fewer medical problems
- Increased work satisfaction
In order to get the most out of therapy, it’s important to find a therapist that fits your needs. Here are some questions to consider when looking for a therapist and in your first few sessions:
- Can I afford this therapist?
- Would I prefer in-person or online therapy?
- Do they specialize in what I need?
- Do they make me feel heard?
- Do they seem sincere?
- Do I feel comfortable around them?
- Are our personalities compatible?
Understanding the Importance of Mental Health
Mental health is important because it promotes balancing one’s emotional wellbeing, adjusting to life circumstances, forming constructive relationships, and learning how to cope with daily life demands.
Mental wellness practices help us improve our mental health. Mental wellness helps build resilience, growth and prosperity. Mental wellness also helps with recognizing your abilities, developing coping skills, and contributing to your community.
Mental wellness may look different for each person — however, there are some things that can universally improve mental health. Mental wellness starts with self-care, which can include eating balanced meals regularly, staying hydrated, and participating in physical activities. It also helps to stay in contact with friends and family. Maintaining a positive perspective is always helpful as well.
Going to therapy is a great way to practice and maintain mental wellness. Not only does it help improve mental and emotional symptoms, but it also can help facilitate the practice of other forms of self-care.
Why Thriveworks Is Your Trusted Therapy Provider
If you want to begin therapy in an effort to improve your mental wellness, consider working with a trusted therapist or counselor at Thriveworks. We have thousands of providers, who have unique backgrounds, specialties, and expertise in order to best help our clients with their unique needs.
Our experts have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you live a happier, healthier life. They’ll create a personalized treatment plan that helps you achieve your individual goals — they can’t wait to join you on your mental health journey.
How Thriveworks Can Help You
Whether you’re looking for individual, couples, or family therapy, Thriveworks has thousands of clinicians that are ready to help you. We offer therapy services across the US and accept over 575 insurance plans.
No matter what you’re struggling with — anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, or another challenge — there are professionals at Thriveworks who are able to provide you with the best care. If you’re ready to take the first step towards healing, schedule an appointment today.