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The world, a few decades ago, was focused solely on our physical health. With the dominance of
the medical model, the importance of medicines, exercise, and a balanced diet was propagated
regularly. But, the same attention was not given to mental health. Rather, mental health and
disorders were shamed, stigmatized, or worse, they were dismissed. However, in recent times,
Therapy has gained some momentum. Social media has become a catalyst for this propaganda.
However, misconceptions are still present.
Therapy is a dreaded word by most of the population. Therapy is often mistaken as talking to
someone about how you feel. However, psychologists and counselors know the depth of it. Our
job as MHPs is to be an advocate for counseling and therapy as well as clear any myths and
misconceptions about it.
The reason why therapy has not been popular could be that mental health is not tangible hence,
working on it doesn’t really give the same effect that working out in the gym would. The utter
dismissal of mental health and its disorders also works adversely.
Below, I list some reasons why therapy is important and useful.
What are coping skills? Coping skills are anything that helps you through difficult times,
whether it’s not getting the promotion you deserve, anxiety about driving or the death of a loved
one. Therapists are educated and trained to help foster the natural coping skills everyone has.
Coping skills will look a little different from person to person because everyone is unique. For
example, an athlete will want to work out as a means of coping; a writer would journal their
thoughts, and someone might go to the spa. All these are effective ways of coping, there is no “one size
fits all” way for coping.
Therapists can also teach coping skills that might not be as easy. For example, cognitive
behavioral therapists will often teach their clients that what they think has an enormous influence on
how they feel & how they respond to others. Attachment-focused therapists might evaluate how
their clients interact with people in their lives. Person-centered therapists encourage their clients
to treat themselves with unconditional positive regard and practice radical self-acceptance.
Regardless of the modality of therapy, the idea is to come up with techniques that help one deal
with the crisis at hand. Psychologist Rob Winkler says “better-coping leads to better responses
and better responses lead to better experiences, which create more opportunity and prosperity in
all aspects of our lives.” So, while it may not seem as exciting as getting six-pack abs, learning
coping skills improves your life exponentially in the long run.
Sometimes we’re not aware of just how many ways we’re negatively impacting our
relationships. People snap and call others names when they are angry and then forget about it
after the fight, not realizing the effect that it has on other people. On the other side of things,
maybe we’re so used to keeping our feelings bottled inside that we have a hard time being
expressive with the people we love. A therapist can help balance the way we communicate with
our loved ones to improve our relationships. For example, for a client who has a hard time being
assertive, the therapist might teach “assertiveness skills” which help them express their feelings or
say “no’’ without upsetting other people or getting hostile. Therapy also helps in improving our
family relationships. A therapist, especially a therapist specialized in family and relationship
counseling, can give you the tools and support you need to make changes that will positively
impact your relationships. Increasing the positivity of your relationships builds to a more fruitful
long-term future – because when it comes down to it, life is about having fulfilling relationships
with the people you love and being able to successfully navigate relationships with people you
True happiness is an intangible thing, and many times people chase the external – money,
success, a fancy car – to try to achieve it. Even though it’s an old cliché, there’s truth to the
statement that money can’t buy you happiness. Having too little money can cause unhappiness,
but money doesn’t have an inherent value that makes our lives more fulfilled. Buying fancy
things might give us a temporary thrill or a sense of satisfaction; however, these feelings don’t
last and tend to scratch at the surface of true happiness. No one has ever claimed, for example,
that the meaning of life is a car; the meaning of life is thought to have more breadth and
importance than that.
So how does therapy help you feel happier on a deeper level? Talking over your past, present,
and future with a therapist can lead to greater self-understanding. truly embracing who you are at
the core is something that leads you to self-compassion. Greater self-compassion helps you handle the bumps in the road that inevitably happen in life without getting stuck in a swamp of
negativity. Learning self-compassion in therapy has tangible benefits: High self-compassion has
been found to lead to more health-promoting behaviors (Sirois, Hirsch, & Kitner, 2015), nurture
well-being (Neely, Schallert, Mohammed, Roberts, & Chen, 2009), increase empathy and
altruism (Neff & Pommier, 2012), and provide a buffer against anxiety (Neff, Kirkpatrick, &
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor explains how positive emotions lead to greater
productivity: “Happiness gives us a real chemical edge…How? Positive emotions flood our
brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good but dial up the
learning centers of our brains to higher levels”. In other words, feeling positive emotions allows
you to work harder and learn more because of the “feel good” chemicals in your brain.
Increasing your levels of happiness—and with it, your productivity—not only helps you in your
career but also helps you cope with the messiness and hectic pace of life.
Therapy can also help you discover obstacles blocking you from performing at your best. These
types of roadblocks (e.g., perfectionism or overthinking) are challenges a therapist can help you
work through to find an effective solution. You and your therapist can also discuss time-management skills and whether changing negative long-term habits—such as poor prioritization
or inaccurate assessments—could help with your focus and productivity. These types of changes
can lead to long-term benefits such as increased work performance, greater feelings of self-efficacy, and improved relationships.
The ways that therapy can improve long-term stress are numerous. A therapist can teach you
methods of calming your body and mind, which might include techniques such as guided
visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing. Therapists can also help
problem-solve the sources of your stress and teach you stress-reduction techniques. They can
introduce you to new concepts such as radical acceptance – that many things in your life are
beyond your control and acceptance is the key to reducing your suffering. Best of all, once you
learn these techniques, you carry them with you for the rest of your life. In other words, stress
relief in the short term can build into long-term patterns of stress management.
So, Therapy is quite helpful in a number of ways. It is useful not just for treating and managing
mental health disorders but also works in enhancing our lives.
If we are okay with accepting working out, dieting, and cosmetic surgeries to enhance our physical
appearance then why not accept therapy as a way of enhancing our mental health? Even though popular culture has begun to accept therapy as a useful modality, we still have a long long way to
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