We love therapy! Of course, we may be biased, but we love it because it works. It just helps people. People feel happier, more productive, have better relationships, calmer, the list goes on. There are two types of people who make use of therapy - those who have reached the point of overwhelm and need help, and those who are simply smart enough to understand how fine-tuning their emotional world can have huge benefits in all aspects of their life, from relationships to careers.
But really, why therapy? Because in your life you will go through a multitude of experiences, from birth to death, and through all those experiences you will be feeling something that will color the entire experience. If you have unresolved issues then that color might be more negative than it needed to be. Do you really want to live your life, with all those moments that you might have enjoyed, looking through a cloudy, murky filter? Or would you rather move through your issues and really enjoy this one life you have right now? Mental health support, therapy, should be number one on anyone's list if you truly want to live life to the fullest and get the most out of it.
We love all sorts of mental health help and support, but we have a preference for face-to-face sessions with a live professional. Yes, there's a lot of self-help books, webpages, magazine articles that do their best to offer some guidance. This page is one of them. While these resources can be a great help in the absence of any professional support, they have their limits. People do fit into loose categories, generally speaking, and general guidance will work, to a greater or lesser degree. Mileage may vary and for good reason, but while a well-written self-help book can get you walking along that road towards your healing destination, a well-seasoned therapist will help you fly there.
Why Can't I Just Diagnosis And Treat Myself?
Most professional diagnosis is based on an 'average' human, which represents almost none of us completely beyond the fact that you are human and statistically-speaking, likely to be somewhat average in many ways. This is why we have professionals in their field who know that the diagnosis is simply a starting point for a deeper more specific investigation. Yes, you are just like everyone else, but only on the surface. Imagine for a moment, there is a row of houses, all built by the same company, all in the same year, on the same land. One year one of the houses springs a leak and floods the basement. The local plumber eventually locates the source of the leak in the upper bathroom, ripping out the wall and repairing the leak. The following year another house finds its basement flooded. Now, as the owner of that house you wouldn't go ripping out the wall in the upper bathroom expecting that the leak would be in the same place, would you? You'd smartly call in the professional, the plumber who, knowing the layout of these houses, might suspect locations where to start looking with the least amount of wall damage in the process. Whether DIY or self-help it is always good to gather more knowledge about a subject, but it is also good to know when to call a professional. The other challenge with self-help, at least in the mental health field, is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to distance yourself from yourself to accurately see the challenges and issues involved. This is why counselors do not counsel themselves, despite having all the many years of training, skills, and experience required, but instead rely on other professionals to help them through their challenges. Your symptoms may sound like many other people's symptoms, and your general background may appear similar to others, but the fact is that even small differences may require different and specific approaches to be successful. Ultimately any long-term working solution should include a period of therapy, whether counseling or medication treatment, where your specific background and current needs and situations can be properly investigated.
Why Can't It Take Only One Session?
It would be wonderful if getting mental health treatment was a fast process, like surgery, in and out in a few days, better in a week or two. Unfortunately, that's not how the body works when it comes to emotional issues. With most mental health issues we are faced with the body and mind being in a particular state that isn't ideal or fully functioning in the way we would like. On a basic level what we are dealing with is a configuration of brain connections, memories, sets of gene expressions, and hormone levels that combine to contribute to a particular feeling or perception. That feeling or perception might be preventing you from leaving the house, having a closer relationship, speaking up at parties, feeling safe, feeling happy, being productive, wearing the clothes that you want, feeling comfortable being you, or many many more. Your experiences of your past have altered your brain's connections, your gene expression, and your hormone levels to varying degrees and now you react and behave in ways that your system thinks is the best it can achieve given what it knows about the world and its resources. You have adapted to the memory of who you are up to this point in time.
Why Are Therapists Always Wanting Me To Feel Things?
If something doesn't 'move you' then it is unlikely to have much of an influence on you and you aren't likely to remember it. On the other hand, something that you find intriguing or exciting or generally emotion-laden will influence your system, may even become a permanent memory, and may ultimately alter your behavior. This is why therapists look for memories or patterns of thinking that involve feelings, especially strong feelings. Altering how you feel about something will alter how you interact with it in the future. Those alterations are changes in your brain and although the brain can change amazingly well, it does take some time. Think about how long it took you to learn to count or to read. You had to learn shapes of numbers and letters before you could arrange them in patterns and then add meaning to those patterns and so on. So it is with behaviors, established through layers and layers of remembered experiences. It takes time to untangle and reattach all those layers of meanings and patterns because the brain is built to not learn immediately, but over time. We take a certain number of similar experiences before we trust that experience to be true. This is even true of your visits to your therapist. You need to trust your therapist to be in the physical state needed to make changes and it takes time, repeated sessions, for your brain to trust the experience of your therapist, to trust the insights they help you to experience, and ultimately alter your brain and behaviors.
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