Understanding Mental Health Therapy and Counseling

We all have problems. Different people cope in different ways. Some of us cope well but others don’t. Some of us suppress our feelings and they end up coming out in different ways. Not all of these ways are good. Bad things happen. There are mental illnesses such as depression and bi-polar and they are VERY real. It is very important to deal with these bad things and face them. We can’t always do that on our own. Therapy can help us to do that. That is the only way to heal or to learn to live with what happened.

If you’re currently IN therapy or considering entering therapy you may have some concerns.

How can I be honest with the therapist? I don’t even KNOW him/her.

Honesty is the best policy during therapy. Trust me, they’ve seen and heard it all. You can’t shock them. We all have friends and or family we can talk to but they won’t always tell us what we NEED to hear. A skilled stranger who is trained to deal with emotions is best. They are impartial with ONE goal. Their goal is to for you to get better or cope.

Only “Crazy” people see therapists. I’m not “crazy”.

You won’t hear a therapist tell you that you’re “crazy” or “mental”. Just because you have some problems or emotional scars that you’re having trouble dealing with, doesn’t mean that you are crazy. You’d be surprise how many functional members of society who have a family at home and a career are in therapy.

How long do I have to do to therapy sessions?

It’s difficult to say how long you should go to therapy. Everyone is different. It can be anywhere to a couple of months to several years. The issues you have didn’t develop over night but in a certain time span. You can’t expect to fix them or learn to live with them over night. There is no quick fix.

In nearly every therapy session, I leave there in an emotional mess and end up worse than I was before I came in there. How is this HELPING me?

Stirring up emotions of all kinds is what therapy does. Only when we do that can we begin to address our issues and work on them. Over time and as your therapy progresses your emotions will overflow less and less. Talking about the things that damaged you in the first place is FACING them and that’s not easy at all. It’s normal to get angry or cry. In my own experience, I’ve noticed overwhelming sadness when I speak of my late mother’s illness or a sharp and angry tone when I discuss a former lover with someone. Your emotional outbursts will decrease over time with regular therapy.

I bring up how I was abused in my former marriage and the therapist asks me, “How did that make you feel”? What a stupid question. How do they THINK that made me feel??!!

It’s all a part of how they approach your healing process. By telling how you felt during that difficult time, you are re-living the situation(s). You come to a point where you can talk about them if you have to and not essentially re-live the hardship. At that time, you can better grasp ways in which to properly deal with what happened to you. That question isn’t meant to degrade you or embarrass you, in the long run, it’s meant to HELP you.

How OFTEN will I have to attend therapy?

How often you’ll have to attend can vary. You doctor or therapist will determine that upon your initial evaluation. It may be once a week, three days a week, or five days a week. Each session may last up to sixty minutes.

I’ve heard of “Group Therapy”. The last thing I want to do is talk about my issues with regular people.

What group therapy does is show you that you are NOT alone at all. You can meet people who are or have gone trough the same things you are going through. You’ll be able to relate to some of these people. Group therapy can enable you to make new friends as well as give you some added support. It’s not likely that a therapist will put you in a group session unless or until he or she feels that it is good to do so.

What if I get admitted to a mental health ward? I’m afraid of that happening.

A doctor will only admit you to a mental health ward if they feel that you are in danger of hurting yourself or anyone else. That could mean that you may hurt yourself or someone else on purpose or perhaps you may not be able to comprehend the fact that you are injuring yourself or someone else. If you DO get admitted to a mental health ward, you will be there for at least 72 hours.

My therapist prescribed some medications. I don’t want to take them.

You are attending therapy for a reason. It is IMPARATIVE that you follow your doctor’s or therapist’s orders. That includes taking all medications and attending all therapy sessions AS SCHEDULED.

Therapy isn’t easy and it’s not fun at all. It’s very difficult but for whatever reason you’re in or considering going to therapy it is the mechanism that will enable you to live with the difficult things you endured in you past. Those memories won’t go away, but therapy can enable you to get rid of the issues that accompany those memories. Good luck and stay strong.

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