There are so many ways that therapy can be helpful for people with a range of clinical issues. For anyone who has even been in therapy they have probably experienced some benefits first hand. However, for people who have never been in counseling before they often wonder what it will be like. People might come in to counseling wondering what they are going to get out of it and how it will be helpful to them. Here are just a few of the many ways that therapy an be helpful.
Having Someone Who Listens
If you have ever felt alone or like you wish you had someone who would really listen, therapy might be helpful. One of the greatest things about a therapist is that they are there for you 100% for that time period. It is a very different relationship than you might have with a friend or family member. One of the biggest differences is that your family members might listen but also want to talk about what is going on with them. With a therapist you have complete permission and encouragement to just talk about what is going on with you for the entire time. A therapist is someone who has made it their profession to help others and listen deeply.
Getting to Know Yourself Better
Going to therapy can help you get to know yourself better. Some forms of therapy are focused more on this type of work than others. If this is something you are really interested in you might want to work with a therapist who is psychoanalytically oriented or who has a strong focus on mindfulness and meditation. A good therapist can help you learn more about yourself if that is something you are interested in. Knowing who you are and feeling strong about that person can help you feel more grounded and confident in your life.
Improving Tough Relationships
If you have hard relationships in your life (who doesn’t?) therapy can be a helpful way to work though some of those issues. For example, a therapist might engage in a role play with you where you can practice setting boundaries or having difficult conversations in a safe space. For people who have difficulty with confrontation there might also be some assertiveness training that is done. We as humans are very social beings. We often need contact with friends and family in order to feel like we have a full life. But if many of these relationships are unhealthy or strained, it can make being social difficult. Working through these issues can lead to a fuller enjoyment of social life.
This is often thought of as the focus of therapy. People think they you have symptoms or problems, you go see a therapist, and those symptoms get better. This is sometimes the case. However, it is important to note that some people enter therapy just to get more out of life and not necessarily because they have a problem they need help with. That being said, for many people symptoms relief is exactly what they are looking for. Helping professionals are specifically trained to understand symptoms and how to treat them. If you have a diagnosed mental disorder it can be particularly helpful to work with a specialist who knows a lot about those particular symptoms and how to treat them.
For some, what they really need is someone to be accountable to. It can be hard to admit when we have fallen short with a goal or relapsed with a symptoms. However, having someone to be accountable to and check in with every week can be incredibly helpful. Accountability can be a deterrent from relapsing. It can also encourage people to complete assignments, create goals, and meet them. This is very true for addiction or eating disorder issues. Sometimes just having someone who checks in on using or behavior can be what the person needs to stay sober.
Learning How to Trust
Many people who come into counseling have trouble trusting people. This is usually quite justified. It might be hard to trust others because trust has been betrayed by people we are close with in the past. Working with a good therapist can help you learn how to trust people again. One of the biggest reasons for this is because therapy is confidential. You are able to say what you need to say without having to worry that it will be revealed to anyone else. Therapy help people to see that there are people who are deserving of our trust.
Living a Fuller Life
Often we think of therapy as being for people who have some kind of clinical issue. People have the misconception that therapy is only for people who have a mental disorder. This could not be farther from the truth. Therapists frequently work with people who are just looking to lead a fuller life. A therapist can help you to appreciate the joy and positivist that already exists in your life. Generally, most people are interested in enjoying their life to the fullest. Having someone you see regularly who specifically wants this for you can truly be a gift.
Easing Life Transitions
Every time we go through a big change in our lives it can be helpful to have someone on our side to help us through it. Therapy is a great way to deal with big transitions in life. Therapists can help with a range of life changes like moving, divorce, getting older, having kids, and many many more. There are therapists who specialize in working with people at different developmental stages. In fact, you might find that as life progresses and different issues arise you need to see a new therapist who is more versed in the current issues you are coping with. In general, therapists have a good understanding of life transitions and the support people need while going through them.