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All of us will go through mental health concerns at some point in our lifetime. We would go through phases where we are anxious, sad, stressed out, or just feel lost not knowing what our life’s purpose is. During such phases, our productivity, personal happiness, and quality of life are bound to be affected. In these moments, it helps to understand how to cope with our difficulties and learn the life skills necessary to handle the challenges. It is thus essential to pay attention to our mental health and look for ways to ensure our emotional wellness so that we can navigate the ups and downs of our life with resilience. Depending on the challenges being faced, we can benefit by reaching out to a mental health professional, be it a psychologist, psychotherapist, counselor, or psychiatrist who can help us figure out the way forward to deal with those challenges through the process of therapy. Talking therapy can take the form of psychotherapy or counseling and is proven to help people deal with their unique personal or professional challenges.
Why do I need therapy?
During moments of stress, when we are overwhelmed by our feelings, having a caring person to act as a sounding board for us to think through our problems helps. Though we can reach out to our partner, friend, or mentor to help sort out our feelings and problems, it is not always practical to do so. At times, the problems may be too personal or embarrassing to talk about. Or sometimes our friends or family are so emotionally invested in us that they may not be able to point out our role or behavioral patterns which are contributing to our problems. In situations like this, it helps to reach out to a mental health professional who will be non-judgemental while listening to our story and personal challenges.
How do I know that I need therapy?
Needing therapy is not a sign of weakness, in fact, it is a sign of courage. It requires immense strength to be able to acknowledge and do something to get out of the unpleasant situation one is currently in to move forward in life. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Post the covid-19 pandemic, the stigma associated with seeking therapy appears to have significantly decreased as more and more people have reached out to mental health professionals for support. Oftentimes, when we face difficulties in life, we either ignore or suppress our feelings and reactions to these situations. Ignoring or suppressing our feelings, in the long run, impacts our ability to tolerate stressful situations and makes us susceptible to emotional issues. When this happens, the following difficulties may arise which interfere with our life and personal happiness:
- Performance issues: Problems with concentration or forgetfulness at school or work thus affecting productivity and contributing to poor performance.
- Relationship issues: Difficulties with making or maintaining relationships can arise in the context of marriage, parenting, break-ups, team conflicts, etc.
- Social withdrawal: Avoidance of people and participation in social activities.
- Apathy: Losing interest in activities or life in general; lacking the motivation to take on responsibilities or pursue routine self-care activities
- Emotional issues: Feeling overwhelmed, experiencing excessive anger, fear, anxiety, or sadness.
- Health issues: Often feeling fatigued, experiencing headaches, gastric issues, or being prone to catching infections, etc.
- Addictions: Relying on unhelpful habits like smoking, consuming alcohol or drugs, pornography, or gambling to cope with stress
- Trauma: Remembering unpleasant events from the past which is interfering in the present or have experienced a recent trauma like losing a loved one
- Suicide: Experiencing hopelessness and thoughts of harm to self or others
The above difficulties are clear signs of distress and highlight the necessity of reaching out for help to deal with our problems. However, therapy is not only necessary for serious issues. Apart from the above reasons for seeking therapy, one can also do so for personal growth i.e., for boosting one’s self-confidence or improving self-esteem. In some cases, biological changes are evident like increased or decreased sleep or appetite which could be due to underlying emotional issues or addictions. Therapists would spend some time understanding the reasons for these biological changes and if required make a referral to a psychiatrist for medications. If we notice someone in need of therapeutic help, we can support the person by connecting them to a therapist. Forcing the person will not be of any value as only when a person willingly seeks help, will he/she benefit from it.
What happens during therapy?
Therapists act as sounding boards and help us make our own decisions. They offer guidance when we feel lost. Therapy offers a safe place to help us:
- Learn healthy skills to cope with symptoms or difficulties.
- Explore how we think, feel and behave when in crisis.
- Increase self-awareness and help in making connections between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors so that it becomes easier for us to break out of unhelpful patterns.
- Change our style of thinking and unhelpful ways of coping with challenges.
- Develop a positive attitude that lasts even after therapy ends.
- Strengthen our relationships by addressing our feelings of insecurity, lack of trust, etc.
- Reduce risks of relapse or recurrence of problems or symptoms of anxiety, depression.
- Provide a safe platform for information to be shared as confidentiality is strictly maintained except when there are risks of self-harm or harm to others like friends and family members.
Therapy can be useful for anyone with serious mental health issues like depression and even for those with not so severe issues like low confidence or relationship conflicts. A therapist is non-judgemental while listening to our life stories and helps us identify our unhelpful behavior patterns which are contributing to difficulties with dealing with challenging situations. For therapy to work, it is essential to have a good rapport with our therapist. We need to have trust as well as courage to open up as well as work on changing unhelpful aspects of ourselves. Commitment and connection to the therapist go a long way to bring about positive changes in oneself.
If you or someone you know needs help managing personal challenges, you can reach out to our team of mental health professionals at Cadabam’s hospital who are trained in various styles of therapy and counseling.
- Do I need Therapy after a breakup?
Ans. Therapy is a step that requires courage. It is not something to be afraid or ashamed of. You can choose to talk to a therapist whenever you feel like it. So, reach out today regardless of what you are facing, because all of us deserve help!