Since this is a mental health blog, it is essential to address the reasons why we should see a therapist. We know that life is filled with everyday stressors which affects us all. We are all equipped with coping mechanisms to help deal with these stressors. Most of us have built relationships, social skills, emotional coping mechanisms, and various defenses to deal with these stressors. But sometimes, these systems that are in place can become overwhelmed, sometimes these systems suffer from lack of care and attention, sometimes a trauma occurs and there are no systems in place to deal with this new development, and sometimes you may just feel isolated and alone.
Statistics from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 1 in 6 adults in the US experiences mental illness in a year. If you reflect on this statistic, it means that you know at least 1 – 3 individuals – if this doesn’t also include you – that is dealing with some form of mental illness. Most people will not seek any form of mental health care and will convince themselves that what they are going through is normal and that no assistance is needed. There are more than enough stigmas floating around in our society, especially within marginalized groups, such as people of color, women, and LGBTTQQIAAP communities that prohibit us from seeking assistance.
There is an abundance of reasons why therapy is beneficial. The main reason that therapy is beneficial is that it provides a safe, non-judgmental space to work through all of life’s issues. This statement may sound clichéd or over-used, but it is the simplest and truest way to describe therapy. When you meet a therapist that you connect with, the experience is deepened in an indescribable way. For the black community, it is like finding the perfect barber or hairdresser that you just click with.There is an abundance of reasons why therapy is beneficial. The main reason that therapy is beneficial is that it provides a safe, non-judgmental space to work through all of life’s issues. Click To Tweet
So, let’s get into the reasons to see a therapist.
- Overwhelmed – Many people eventually seek out a therapist when their situations have overwhelmed their coping systems. At this point, the situation may have gotten out of control and people are at their wits’ ends. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed all the time, then your coping mechanisms are not working, and you are not effectively managing your stress.
- Trauma – Most people consider trauma to be severe circumstances, such as death and loss, weather disasters (hurricane, etc), and war. But the truth is that most of us have encountered multiple traumas throughout our lifespans. Hence, the term complex trauma, which is becoming more and more popular these days. Trauma can include divorce, sexual assault, severe illnesses, and other common things that we experience. Trauma is the emotional experiences that people have in response to an incident, event, or ongoing circumstances. Trauma overwhelms our coping systems and assistance is needed to regain our equilibrium.
- Substance Use – Substance use oftentimes relates to maladaptive coping mechanisms. The US is in the middle of an opioid epidemic which speaks to the severity of this issue. Seeking help early is essential to getting healthy.
- Relationship Difficulties – Relationship problems do not have to exclusively relate to romantic relationships. Friendships and familial relationships are relationships that deal with a lot of conflict, emotions, and personality differences. The common thread in all the relationships is you. So, don’t be afraid to explore yourself to see if you could be contributing to the issues in your relationships.
- Difficulties Regulating Emotions – If you notice that you are angry all the time, isolating yourself all the time, feeling hurt but cannot find the reason why, or any emotional experience that feels overwhelming, seeking assistance is most definitely beneficial. Therapy can help you explore unconscious trauma and motives. Many people are walking around with unresolved pain and trauma that are controlling their adult lives, and they are unaware of these issues. Seeking help allows you to take back control over your life.
- Self – In today’s society, most people are unhappy with who they are. Society, media, social media, and even friends and family members spend a lot of time telling others how they should behave, who they should be and become, and showcasing the latest quick fixes that make most people feel that something is wrong with them. We are constantly being encouraged to be someone else that many of us do not know who we are. We have ineffective boundaries, maladaptive coping skills, toxic relationships with ourselves and others, and are experiencing stagnation in most areas of our lives. Therapy provides an awesome space to reconnect with yourself.
- Maintenance – There is a definite misconception that therapy is only for people with mental disorders and illnesses. But there are many people who go to therapy periodically – once a month, once every 3 months, once every 6 months, etc – to check-in with themselves and to get an objective opinion from a trusted source. This is no different than going to your primary care physician for your annual checkup, or the dentist twice a year for your bi-annual cleaning. It is simply a way to care for yourself.
Developing a proactive mental health regimen is simply a form of caring for ourselves. Life is filled with unnecessary distractions. We often forget or take for granted that we are only blessed with one life. We get one opportunity to live this life. Our main purpose is to become our truest selves, and, in that journey, we discover the purpose for our existence. To fulfil this purpose, we must be in optimal shape, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.