What is mental health therapy? 7 things you should know

    There are many stereotypes and stigmas out there when it comes to talking about therapy. I'm sure some already popped into your head. The therapist asking the client "how do you feel about that". Or maybe you have heard that only "crazy" people go to therapy. This post is not about those myths or stigmas (I've already written a post about that here if you are interested in learning more 😉) or what therapy is not. This post was created to provide insight and education into what mental health therapy is

    Firstly, I would like to provide some clarification to a couples things. For the purposes of this post, I will be using counseling and therapy interchangeably. There are some nuances to these two words, but for today they will be synonymous. 

    Secondly, mental health therapy/psychotherapy/therapy will also be used synonymously. These are all the same thing... but people like to use different names to provide some clarification when talking about other forms of therapy like speech therapy and physical therapy, for example.  

    Thirdly, I will also be using the term therapist which could also mean a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or counselor. If you would like more information on the differences between these professions, check out my posts (psychiatry post, sociology post, )

    Lastly, for this post I am focusing on individual therapy. There are different types of therapy (group therapy, family therapy, and couples therapy), but today we are talking about the overview of individual therapy- one client and one therapist. 

    My hope is that as you read this, you can grow a greater understanding of the benefits and strengths of psychotherapy. No therapist and no method is perfect, but I hope you can have an open mind to what therapy can provide.

Mental health therapy is:

  • Your space
    • A counseling session is your space. You are in charge of the time that you have in your session. It is a time where you get to share what you want to share. You get to set the goals that you want. You should not feel forced to share anything you feel uncomfortable talking about. This is your time. Some exceptions to this is if you are mandated to go to therapy (they may have a curriculum set for you to go through). 
  • A space to get support from a professional
    • A reason to go to a professional therapist is that they are trained to do this. They are trained to support you in what you need. It is nice to talk to close family and friends about life struggles, but you may find it beneficial to also seek a professional therapist to support you in your struggles.
  • A space to talk about the difficult things in life
    • You may find it hard to talk to certain people about what's going on in your life. Your therapist's job is only to be your therapist. They are not in your life like how your friends and family are. Therapists are often just in client's lives for brief periods of time. Sometimes, people feel more comfortable opening up to people like this because their honesty will not have an impact in their personal relationships. 
  • A space to process your past experiences
    • Therapists can help you understand your past. They can help you understand how certain life experiences molded you into who you are today. If this is not your thing, you may want to find a therapist who focuses more on the "here and now" challenges of your life. 
  • A space to talk about anything
    • You can literally share anything in therapy. There are limitations to confidentiality (and they are different for every state), but for the most part, anything you say to your therapist is kept secret. 
  • A space you can bring others into
    • Not only can this therapy space be for you, you can also invite others into it as well. Sessions can be family sessions or couples sessions (my post about couples therapy). Some people like doing group therapy along with individual therapy. (Check out my post on group therapy for more info). Inviting your loved ones into the therapy session can help foster healthy communication between you and your loved ones. 
  • A space to grow
    • Ultimately, therapy is a place where you can grow. It does not happen overnight- it can take months before you start to notice a real difference in your life. Be patient and try to trust the process. Your therapist will not magically fix everything in your life... they will help you develop the skills and tools to manage the struggles of your life. I hope that you find therapy a helpful resource for you. I know you are going to do great things!

Post a Comment