There are plenty of misconceptions and reasons people resist seeking therapy.
These can range from the (false) stigma that if I see a therapist, there is something wrong with me. Cost, time (or lack of), fear as well as an over-dependence on drugs like Prozac all contribute to people who need therapy resisting it. Of course, many of us would rather just talk to our friends or family about our issues.
According to Dr. Loren Soeiro “Therapy doesn’t supplant friendship — but then again, friendship can’t do the work of psychotherapy, either. A therapeutic relationship is more than a friendship: Not only does it provide support, but it challenges you, allowing you to gain valuable insights into yourself. Therapists are trained listeners who can help you find the source of your problems, even if the source is your thoughts, your family, or you.” (10 Reasons Why People Refuse to Talk to Therapists)
You can find online licensed therapists at https://www.betterhelp.com/online-counseling/.
But as we come into 2019 and reflect on the year past and make resolutions for the New Year, professional therapy can be a tremendous asset in putting the past in the past and achieving your goals for 2019.
In a June 2014 Interview with Forbes Magazine, Marian Margulies, Ph.D., a psychologist in New York City and candidate in psychoanalysis at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education at the NYU Medical Center explained the beauty of “talk therapy,” especially forms like psychodynamic, is that it addresses not just the symptoms but also the causes of one’s problems.
Antidepressants, though essential for some people, don’t exactly get to the underlying source. “If you’re not getting to the cause of the pain,” says Margulies, “you’re essentially chained to the past. Psychotherapy gets to the root.” (11 Intriguing Reasons To Give Talk Therapy A Try)
Studies have shown that the results of therapy can persist over a long period of time and significantly reduce the need for psychiatric medications.
Emotional health is as important as physical health, and like eating right and exercising are critical parts of physical health, there are steps you can take to ensure your emotional health.
Be aware of your emotions and reactions. Notice what in your life makes you sad, frustrated, or angry. Try to address or change those things. Forgive yourself for making mistakes, and forgive others. Spend time with healthy, positive people.
Express your feelings in appropriate ways. Let people close to you know when something is bothering you. Keeping feelings of sadness or anger inside adds to stress. It can cause problems in your relationships and at work or school.
Think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. Give yourself time to think, and be calm before you say or do something you might regret.
Manage stress. Try to change situations causing you stress. Learn relaxation methods to cope with stress. These could include deep breathing, meditation, and exercise.
Strive for balance. Find a healthy balance between work and play and between activity and rest. Make time for things you enjoy. Focus on positive things in your life.
Take care of your physical health. Your physical health can affect your emotional health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy meals and get enough sleep. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.
Connect with others. We are social creatures. We need positive connections with other people. Make a lunch date, join a group, and say hi to strangers.
Find purpose and meaning. Figure out what it is important to you in life, and focus on that. This could be your work, your family, volunteering, caregiving, or something else. Spend your time doing what feels meaningful to you.
Stay positive. Focus on the good things in your life. Forgive yourself for making mistakes, and forgive others. Spend time with healthy, positive people.
(Mental Health: Keeping Your Emotional Health)
People who have good emotional health can still have emotional problems or mental illness. Mental illness often has a physical cause. This could be a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stress and problems with family, work, or school can trigger mental illness or make it worse.
Counseling, support groups, and medicines can help people who have emotional problems or mental illness. An excellent resource for finding a professional therapist is https://www.betterhelp.com/online-counseling/. In addition to being an excellent resource for selecting a counselor, they have a repository of literally thousands of articles dealing with all facets of mental health, which are available at no cost.
Dr. George Vaillant, who was one of the directors of Harvard University’s Study of Adult Development (which followed the lives of 724 men over 75 years, summed it up, “Happiness is love. Full stop.” Indeed, the men in the study who were the most satisfied in their relationships—those who felt loved and gave love—at age fifty were the healthiest at age eighty.
Now, if you grew up in a family where you had to earn love through achievement, obedience, or simply keeping quiet and out of the way, this belief might not come easily for you. You may carry around in your core the idea that love has to be earned or worth has to be granted. If that resonates with you, you deserve more than a blog post; search out a qualified therapist you like and trust and do some good work. ( Robert Waldinger discusses The Harvard Study on Adult Happiness)
In short, believing you can love and deserve to be loved back will allow you to connect to other people, which in turn makes life happy, healthy, and long. A therapist can help to make this a reality.
If you are looking for a Licensed Therapist, BetterHelp.com is a tremendous resource.
Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice.