It’s simple to justify spending money to make ourselves more appealing in a culture that frequently values material possessions. Because physical beauty is frequently stressed as the be-all and end-all in the media, we have a built-in incentive to care about how we look.
For some people, the thought of going to a therapist isn’t in their realm of possibility. After decades of stigma surrounding mental health, it’s no surprise that seeing a counselor or psychologist still seems taboo in some circles.
Slowly but surely, that stigma is lifting, though, as more and more people recognize the benefits of therapy and how they can apply to anyone. Whether you’re facing mental health conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse, struggling with relationship issues or work stress, or want to become the best version of yourself, a therapist can help you make it through just about anything more easily.
As if replicating the physical perfection we see in the media will miraculously make us happy, we get gym memberships to look a specific way. The primary method for “becoming well” is also viewed as going to the gym; however, enhancing psychological health is not stressed in the same way. Why?
Therapy helps you deal with the tough stuff.
From one-on-one teletherapy to marriage counseling with your partner, a psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist has years of experience backing up their methods.
Because of this, there’s a good chance they’ve helped others through the same issues you’re dealing with. That insight gives them a unique perspective in helping you make it through the difficult moments of life, even as they customize treatment to your individual needs.
For example, you might be anxious about your missing cat. The stress of not knowing can overwhelm you, making it all the more difficult to form a plan.
With cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other psychotherapy treatments, a therapist can help you work through your emotions and strategize—after your appointment, you’ll be ready to create flyers, call local shelters, post on social media, and double-check your pet’s favorite hiding place. A psychologist like Dr. Avery Grauer MD can’t bring your kitty home, but they can help you deal with your anxiety and take action, rather than wallowing in your stress or sadness.
Therapy offers a long-term impact.
If the stigma doesn’t deter them, many would-be patients are discouraged by the costs of psychotherapy. After all, a single session won’t suddenly cure your mental health concerns.
Still, while you and your psychiatrist can certainly form a long-term relationship, you’ll also develop the skills you need to work through many issues on your own. Over time, you’ll be able to leave more extended periods between appointments and visit your counselor less often. Eventually, you may even be able to stop seeing mental health professionals as regularly, only scheduling an appointment when it’s necessary, like for an assessment for prescription renewals.
The principles of CBT work to build lasting habits and healthy behaviors. Whether you’re a former addict recovering from substance abuse or a vet learning to cope with PTSD, a psychiatrist can work with you to determine the best strategies to help you implement cognitive behavioral therapy (or another sort of treatment) both in their office and at home.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you won’t be as overwhelmed when relationship issues or other concerns arise at home, at work, or anywhere outside your therapist’s office.
Therapy provides outside insight.
In-person or via a telehealth platform, individual therapy is designed to let your psychologist act as a neutral party trying to understand what’s bothering you.
Anxiety disorders, for example, might leave a patient thinking the worst of a situation, while a psychiatrist can help you see things more realistically. If you’ve opted for a group therapy setting, you can hear from other participants. Some of them may even have a similar experience to what you’re struggling with now!
Group therapy can be an especially good idea if you find yourself self-isolating through major life transitions or mental health issues. You might even find that new friendships arise in the process. That is to say, there’s no reason your concerns in a therapy session need to be major ones—you might just need another person to listen.
Therapy can change how you interact with your relationship
Sometimes we’re not even aware of all the ways we’re ruining our relationships. When we’re upset, we could lose it and yell at our partner, only to forget about it after the argument and not realize the impact it had on them.
Therapy relieves physical symptoms.
When you start going to therapy, a mental health issue doesn’t have to be your primary concern. Average everyday stress is reason enough to seek a psychologist’s expertise, but physical problems can benefit from counseling, too. After months of putting in hard work and long hours at your job, for instance, you might find yourself facing chronic headaches, neck and shoulder pain, or more severe symptoms.
In some cases, your primary care physician will recognize this and help you manage both your physical symptoms and your psychological strain—they may even recommend treatment specific to your mental health needs, whether that’s medication or visiting a licensed professional counselor. If, however, you’re struggling with symptoms that don’t seem to have an apparent physical cause or those causes is something as seemingly insurmountable as your career, you may benefit from seeking out psychotherapy on your own.
Facing family conflict, stress at work, or a personal crisis, there’s no shame in seeking psychotherapy. There are plenty of benefits that can come from seeking mental health treatment. CBT or other treatment options offered by your psychologist can help you be a happier, less stressed version of yourself, with lessons that can last a lifetime.
Therapy can make you feel happier
Self-understanding is the first step toward fully loving who you are at your core, even though it doesn’t always imply self-acceptance. The idea of self-compassion is linked. Greater self-compassion enables you to navigate life’s inevitable hiccups without sinking into a pit of despair.
So how exactly does therapy make you happier on a more profound level? Greater self-awareness may result from discussing your past, present, and future with a therapist.