We see that more people are talking about mental health issues, primarily through social media. It is a positive sign that people are moving forward to be more accepting of mental health issues. However, it might take a long time where conversations about mental health and therapy become regular at the dinner table.
People tend to see therapy as a last resort. It is something that comes after they have tried talking to their support system, practicing self-care, making changes in one’s lifestyle.
A study conducted by the WHO (2019) reported that two-thirds of people with a mental disorder never seek professional help. The reasons being: stigma, discrimination, and neglect.
Unlike popular opinion, therapy is not reserved for people labeled “crazy.” It is a collaborative process that fosters an egalitarian relationship between the therapist and the client. Collaborative implies both counselor and client set some goals and try to achieve them. Egalitarian means both client and counselor are on equal ground. The counselor is not an authority figure, but at the same level as the client.
Therapy can help people deal with their symptoms when diagnosed with a known mental disorder. They also learn to cope with triggering situations that make one experience anxiety or depression.
People can seek therapy for many other reasons. It may help them deal with stress, negative feelings, and tensions in relationships with family, friends, and others. People also seek therapy for personal and professional development. A reason for seeking therapy can simply be needing someone who will listen actively, who you can talk to without fear of judgment!
So, how would you know if you or someone close to you needs to seek professional help? The American Psychological Association has given two guidelines.
Firstly, when the problem is distressing. It troubles you to a point where your quality of life is compromised, and you feel like hiding your thoughts and feelings. And secondly, when the problem interferes with some aspect of your life, be it your education, work, or interpersonal relationships. One does not need to struggle alone. Professional help will always be available.
That said, there is no “good” reason for seeking therapy because all reasons for going to a counselor are valid. You do not need to have a complicated problem or trauma.
Therapy is designed in a way to make sure you can express himself without fear of judgment. The counselor may or may not have experienced what you’re going through, but they will always try to be empathetic. Therapy is a safe space where no problem is considered big or small.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Although you might face challenges while seeking therapy, be proud that you reached a milestone already. You have realized your mental health is essential and took a step in the right direction.
Therapy is too good to be limited to the sick.