It can be hard to know when therapy is the right option for you. It’s common to have the perception that therapy is only for people who qualify with a mental health diagnosis or have intense trauma. You may feel like your problems aren’t worthy of treatment because they’re not as serious as someone else’s.
The reality is that there are no qualifying criteria to sign up for therapy. While it’s much more pertinent and time-sensitive for certain disorders, seeking therapy for mental health is for everyone. Even the smartest, most self-aware, healthy and organized people can reap major benefits from partaking in therapy on a regular basis.
Therapy for mental health
Therapy for mental health includes any form of professional treatment aimed at healing distress or alleviating its symptoms. There are dozens of modalities for therapy, like art therapy, nature therapy, play therapy and narrative therapy. Numerous frameworks guide these practices, like cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy and family systems theory.
Therapy for mental health is tricky to define because the implementation is different for each person. Someone may benefit from one-on-one psychotherapy (or talk therapy) while others may experience more healing through group animal-assisted therapy.
While there are various applications of mental health healing, it’s important to know that treatment will be catered to the intensity of your needs and your individual preferences. You don’t have to worry that you’ll be out of place when you start treatment because a personalized assessment will determine the best services for your needs.
Even if you feel “fine,” and don’t feel like your current concerns warrant intervention, it’s important to know that therapy is practiced on a spectrum and even the lowest level of intervention can positively impact every single person, whether or not a diagnosable disorder is present.
When to seek the benefits of therapy
Therapy has proven to offer benefits to individuals with psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, eating disorders and the like. Even if you haven’t noticed signs of these disorders, it’s likely you would benefit from mental health services if you’ve experienced the following.
- Loss of enjoyment in activities you used to love
- Chronic, unexplained physical symptoms, like headaches or body pain
- Sleep problems, such as insomnia
- Decreased sex drive
- Lower energy levels
- Mood swings
- Decrease in a desire to socialize with people you enjoy (withdrawing from others)
- Substance use issues
It’s common to think of therapy as a healing tool for traumatic experiences or major life changes, like divorce or the death of a loved one. However, other situations, which on the surface seem less traumatic, may warrant treatment by a therapist.
Any life transition, stressful environment or change in identity (like becoming a parent) can be a valid reason to seek mental health care. If you’ve recently lived through any of these experiences, it may be a prime time to reach out for therapy.
- Job loss
- Death of a pet
- Promotion or job change
- A loved one’s diagnosis
- Struggles with parenting
- Significant transition, such as moving to another state or having kids move out of the home
This short list of life changes is far from all-encompassing. Regardless of the adjustments and challenges you face, therapy can make a difference in your life.
How to improve your life with therapy
If you’re looking for ways how to improve your life, therapy is the foremost among them. It’s widely accessible, affirming and a safe place to grow as a person. Here are the benefits of therapy you’ll reap when you start committing yourself to the process.
1. Improved relationships
Therapy often gives us the outside perspective we need to see our lives objectively. Even solid relationships can get a boost from regular sessions. We can learn to undo toxic patterns, communicate more effectively, express our desires and learn to compromise. Both intimate relationships and our bonds with our family and friends can grow with therapy.
2. Stress relief
We all face stress in some capacity, but when stress feels overwhelming therapy can help you find constructive ways to manage it. Falling into old patterns that make stress accumulate can be resolved so you can say goodbye to chronic stress and feel in control of your emotions again.
A therapist can help you identify the most harmful stressors in your daily life, create calming strategies and learn emotional regulation skills to manage stress well and prevent mental health issues from developing.
3. Change unhealthy behaviors
Negative behaviors like—binge eating, using drugs, overspending, blaming others, disassociating with social media or pornography, lashing out at loved ones and similar behaviors don’t solve our problems— generally they only serve to make us feel bad about ourselves. If you’re stuck in a pattern of negative behavior that is interfering with living the life you want, therapy can help you find healing by addressing the root of the behavior.
Feeling better than “fine”
If you’re stuck in a down mood, a pattern of unhealthy behavior or simply want to improve the way you communicate, you can benefit from therapy. There’s no reason to wait for something that is distressing you to get worse. The time to start therapy for mental health is now.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of the benefits of therapy, reach out to The Light Program. At The Light Program, you can be assured that you’ll be matched with the most appropriate services for your needs and a compassionate professional who can walk alongside you.