Is Psychotherapy a Waste of Time?
Despite the increasing knowledge of mental health disorders and the importance of mental health in your overall well-being, many people still feel that therapy is a waste of time, or just not an effective solution for their situation. This, of course, is a common misconception that people need to forget immediately. There are a number of myths and misconceptions about psychotherapy. The first step to understanding this as a treatment option is to get the real facts about therapy and what it can do for you.
Psychotherapy is a scientifically-proven method of helping people navigate their feelings and develop better-coping behaviors when dealing with emotional stress and mental health issues. Some therapists utilize clinical methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help patients rebuild their mental and emotional coping strategies and improve their overall well-being in this regard. Others use different methods of talk therapy, but they all have their benefits.
Related Article: How to find a Good Psychotherapist?
You Can’t Do It Alone- And You Don’t Have To
Many people assume that they can handle whatever issues they are facing on their own. Having a bad day might not be a reason to seek out a therapist, but if you are having a lot of bad days, you might need help. There are situations where the mental and emotional issues we face become too overwhelming and cause more serious consequences to our health, and therapy is often the most effective solution. Although people with more moderate needs might be able to resolve things on their own, therapy offers a quicker and more effective solution. It is designed to help you. Take advantage of that.
Therapy Isn’t Forever
Another major reason people avoid starting therapy is that they think it is a life sentence. However, many patients who are successful with psychotherapy will be able to develop a plan for ongoing success that involves ending therapy at some point. That isn’t to say that you might never need it again, but it doesn’t have to be seen as some never-ending commitment. The way that counseling works are to help you create effective skills for dealing with the mental and emotional stressors in your life. That may or may not include ongoing therapy, but in most cases, treatment plans are set up with an end-goal in sight.
Keep in mind, of course, that the finish line isn’t the real goal in therapy. The process itself is where you will gain the most reward. When you work with a professional, you should talk to them about the length of treatment or the milestones that you want to set to help you reach your goals and get the most out of these sessions. Therapy can help you speed up the process of healing or give you better coping skills, but it is not a race. Find the balance between an effective treatment plan and a timeline that suits your needs.
Therapy Helps Everyone
Psychotherapy isn’t just for people who are facing severe situations or serious mental illness. Obviously, it does provide more value in these cases, but anyone can use therapy to help them improve their mental health and emotional habits. In fact, many people use this as a proactive method to help them identify issues as they arise and develop effective coping skills. Anytime you are working through an emotional or mental health issue, it is worth considering a therapist. Think of it more like working with a personal trainer to improve your physical health, rather than visiting a doctor. If you take care of your mental health, you might not end up in a severe situation in the first place.
Signs you should consider talking to a therapist include:
-Feelings, behaviors, or thoughts that are preventing you from living a “normal” life
-When mental or emotional issues result in physical harm, such as in the case of cutting or eating disorders
-When time is limited and you need to improve emotional or behavioral issues quickly, such as for a CEO whose resulting poor performance might affect their career
Training Your Brain
Going back to the personal trainer reference, a professional therapist works with your mind in much the same way. These individuals will work with you to develop a program that works for you, based on your needs and the goals that you have in mind for seeking this treatment. They will help you identify thoughts and feelings that are shaping your life. They are listeners. They will utilize those skills to identify what is working for you and what isn’t. Plus, they can help you see how your mind works and how it can work better, no matter what type of mental, emotional, or behavioral issues you may be facing.
Many people see therapy as a waste of time, but these people aren’t looking at things from the right perspective. This is your opportunity to process your thoughts and emotions in a setting with someone who understands them and can help you learn how to handle them better. It isn’t just about sitting down and talking to someone who will listen. A good therapist will help you develop better habits, thought patterns, and coping skills. They will also help you identify negative reactions and ways to improve upon them, among other things. Talking is only a small part of the process, but a critical one so does not think of it as a waste of your time.
Reasons to Consider Therapy
A lot of the information here has been provided to debunk myths about psychotherapy. However, it is also important to look at the benefits and uses of therapy as it relates to mental and emotional health, life events, and stressors. Talking to a therapist can be beneficial for many people, as we’ve discussed. Those who could benefit the most include:
-People living with constant depression, anxiety, and/or phobias that are crippling to their daily life or activities
-Those suffering from the trauma of any kind
-People who need help reaching their goals or setting a clear direction for the future
-Parents and children who are struggling to communicate or have strained relationships
-Couples who are struggling to connect or experiencing conflict
-People navigating major life events, such as job loss, the death of a loved one, or divorce
-Those overcoming addictions or seeking aftercare upon completing an inpatient rehab program
-Anyone experiencing mental, emotional, or environmental stressors that are affecting their quality of life
Types of Clinical Methods Used in Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely-used treatment option for people seeing a therapist. In this method, a therapist will help you identify key thoughts, behaviours, and actions that may be negatively impacting your mental well-being. Then, they will work with you to change the way to respond to stressful situations and these negative thoughts and actions. The result creates a more empowered way for you to approach the mental health issues or stressors in your life, giving you back control.
There are a number of other therapeutic methods available in therapy, as well, so people who have not found success with CBT should not be deterred. Some of the other methods used by therapists include:
Of course, all therapists start with an assessment to help them determine what method(s) will best suit your needs. They understand that treatment isn’t a one-size solution and will help you to come up with a treatment plan that meets your goals.
The Bottom Line: Therapy Works
There are many ways that you can attempt to improve your mental and emotional health, but none are quite as effective as therapy. Because there is still such a stigma attached to mental health and seeing a therapist, there is also a lot of misinformation and mistrust of the mental health industry as a sound profession. This is unfortunate because therapists truly have a lot to offer. Even for someone who is just feeling a little lost in life, a therapist could be the ideal solution to finding a new path and getting life back on track.
Psychotherapy isn’t just for people with serious mental health issues. Having a therapist isn’t a “Hollywood trend” or anything like that. Everyday people talk to therapists all the time, and they see a lot of success. If you have areas in your life where you have been struggling, it might be worthwhile to at least consider this option. With a reputable, licensed therapist, it can work for you if you are willing to put in the work.