Mental health is often a censored topic. They say, “Mental health needs more sunlight, candor and unashamed conversations,” but it is not always possible. However normal our childhoods are, we all carry some emotional baggage all our lives, which subconsciously affects our habits, our choices, our career choices and, ultimately, our happiness.
Finding “someone” who can listen when you talk and who has dedicated time for your problems is very important. We often see a “shrink” on TV where we are presented with a glamorized picture of “counseling” and “psych talk.” However, in reality, it is scary to confide our fears and fallacies to a stranger.
Unlike a plush couch, most people sit on a chair (a comfortable one) and talk to their therapist.
Why should I invest time in therapy when there are medications?
Diseases of the mind are much more complicated than those of the body. Although the idea of one yellow pill to solve your problems is very enticing, the pill can only help with the symptoms. Unless you address the root cause of your mental issues (your mood swings, depressed moods, compulsive habits and poor-quality sleep), you will never heal from your illness. Often, the reason for our unhappiness and dissatisfaction lies deep in our psyche. A qualified mental health professional will help you “find” your problem, address it at a basic level and deal with it. Repressed traumas of childhood, insecurities that make you unsure of yourself and pain from any type of past abuse (emotional or physical) cannot be taken care of with a pill. A course of costly medications will not improve your relationships or pull you out of a cycle of bad relationships. It needs time, effort and will from both you and your psychiatrist or therapist. Moreover, most psychiatric medications have side effects such as drowsiness, poor alertness, weight gain, dry mouth and apathy. Other side effects such as abnormal movements and abnormal heart rhythms are potentially dangerous.
Why is finding a therapist so hard?
Reasons for this are multiple. Most people find it embarrassing to discuss their mental health. We all find it difficult to talk, confide and listen. Society and social media take their toll on our self-esteem and mental health. Accepting that we are broken and imperfect takes a lot of resolve and support. The fact that we have a mental health issue itself is very difficult for some people to handle.
- How many times do we recommend that people we care about see a therapist?
- A search for a good therapist is shrouded in secrecy. No one shouts out loud that they seek therapy and that their therapist is the best.
- How do we know which therapist is right for us? Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) work on social issues such as addiction, group therapy and individual therapy. There are Licensed Addiction Counsellors (LACs) that work with those addicted to drugs, gambling and social media. There are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) who work with separated couples, divorces and broken marriages.
- How do we know if the therapist will develop a counseling session individualized to our problem?
- Your BFF’s “amazing therapist” could be totally ineffective in your case.
- How exactly do you know what makes a particular therapist or their method best suited for you?
- The therapist’s location, specialization, charges, gender and age group they most commonly manage often matter.
- It is impractical, embarrassing and often impossible to discuss mental issues over the phone. Hence, seeking appointments is difficult.
- Often, the therapist may be excellent. However, we may relate our negative emotions to the therapist and his office. This will make us hate our therapist.
- Body language is often important. A therapist who sits before you and appears aloof often may not work for you.
Therapy is often time-consuming, exhausting and painful. It involves accepting your fallacies (which many people find difficult). You need to unlock and confront uncomfortable emotions. However, it may be the only solution to your illness. It will give you the tools for transforming your life, avoiding toxic behaviors, avoiding repetitive patterns of negative emotions and being honest with yourself. Plus, seeking therapy isn’t enough, you must have the determination to improve your situation. Continuing therapy mechanically with a therapist may often be futile. However, it is best to persevere. Your family doctor may guide or refer you to a good therapist. Social media and search handles may help as well.
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