Modern mental health counseling has been formally used in the United States since the early 1950s. Other therapeutic modalities, however, have been around since ancient Grecian times. In every culture on the planet there are different forms of healing practitioners – from shamans and spirit healers, to counselors and psychologists.
Mental health counseling has taken off in the United States, despite mass backlash and skepticism due to the age-old stigma of asking for help and accepting professional guidance. The profession has taken off and grown substantially in the last 20 years alone due to its positive and often life-changing effects.
So what are the benefits of therapy?
A safe space to vent
The therapeutic value of being able to speak honestly and openly about one’s personal experiences is unparalleled. Even if one has close friends and family with whom there is a level of intimacy and comfort, there is nothing quite like being able to be completely unfiltered with a stranger who is not personally invested in your life and relationships.
Most often than not, being inactive causes the mind to think more. Hence, therapies such as occupational therapy, art therapy, and group therapy can help divert energy and unwanted emotions, stress, and tension through productive activities.
The ability to process
Just like a doctor cannot treat themselves, human beings cannot think their way out of their emotional pain, at times, without the guidance and direction of a therapist. Sometimes we are unable to see our own patterns, and the ability to process through our experiences in therapy can illuminate core processes and wounds within us that may not have ever come to the surface if we did not have a strong rapport with a therapist.
You don’t have to be sick to get well. Emotional wellness is priceless. Often, we tell ourselves that we don’t have to seek therapy unless it’s really “that bad.” But how bad do we need it to get? What have we been normalizing? Our anxiety, depression, fear, shame, trauma, grief, relationship dysfunction, and lack of self-esteem may have become inadvertently camouflaged into our day to day lives. We don’t have to hit any kind of “rock bottom” before seeking professional support. Our bottom, in actuality, can be when we finally stop digging.
According to the Persian poet Rumi, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Therapy can be a healing process in which you and your therapist collaboratively take a sledgehammer to every barrier that is blocking you from your goals: self-esteem, healthy relationships, a promising career, confidence, and so on.
Learn and change your habits
Therapy does not offer the ability to completely change as an individual after a couple of sessions. However, if there are any kinds of self-destructive or otherwise negative behavior you are looking to change, it can greatly help. There are specific types of therapy services that can help do this for different types of behavior, like intensive outpatient therapy for those who have been dealing with addiction. Therapy can offer you the tools to better understand your habits, your triggers, and find techniques to help manage them.
Think of better ways to divert these negative feelings instead of releasing your stress and anxiety through substance abuse or other negative habits. For example, you can manage stress by participating in social therapy, such as playing games and sports.
A mental health professional can provide expert advice on the best possible treatment options available for your condition. For instance, if you have alcohol problems, the psychiatrist can refer you to a rehabilitation treatment facility, such as Luxury Alcohol Rehab.
A new pair of glasses
We are often flooded with opinions and advice from people that we know. Who else would offer us guidance? Therapy is like coming up for fresh air, hearing the observations of someone who has not been biased and clouded by a personal relationship.
It’s best to consult a professional who can provide an objective explanation of your current mental health status. A psychiatrist can provide you with resources to read and study depending on the assessment result to help you make a sound decision. The mental health professional may recommend long-term treatment as necessary. In addition, one of the benefits of seeking help from a mental health professional is ensuring patient privacy and confidentiality.
So, whether you’re receiving treatment for substance abuse or any other mental health condition, only authorized people can access your medical records.
Self-care is not just taking bubble baths and wearing a face mask. It’s allowing yourself to step into the proverbial arena of discomfort; of getting vulnerable, of letting yourself cry, of processing your past wounds, and of getting messy in your emotions to pave a way to a more stable and healthy quality of life.
When you invest in therapy, you’re investing in yourself. It’s not always easy and it’s seldom the most comfortable experience, but the payoff is a life with yourself that you can be proud of. It’s having clarity, having peace of mind, and feeling comfortable in your own skin. That is the most priceless benefit of therapy.
Healing from trauma
By seeing a mental health counselor, you can begin to heal from specific traumas that have happened in your life. People have therapy for all sorts of reasons, be it mental illness, destructive patterns of behavior, or simply to help them get through a difficult period in their lives. Trauma, however, is more specific: it could be an event or period in your life that your brain has struggled to process, and therefore still affects you today.
One of the most successful ways to deal with this is art therapy, where you can express your emotions and explain what happened without verbalizing it. For example, one of the exercises can be focused on some of the principles from Native American culture. The patients can embark on a journey to find their “spiritual guide” – or what is sometimes metaphorically referred to as a spirit animal. Each and every one of them has a deeper meaning and the reasoning behind choosing the exact animal can be a key to explaining or resolving the trauma that can haunt a person for years or even decades. So, without actually saying what the problem is, it can be formed and shaped in a way that your brain won’t label as being traumatic or stressful.
Therapy can help you truly heal from a traumatic past. This process isn’t easy, but with tried and true techniques and consistent work, you can find yourself beginning to heal and move on from this trauma that has been holding you back your whole life.