By Lacy Taylor, Mental Health Therapist
There are many reasons why people seek therapy. Depression, anxiety, loss, and trauma are common reasons. But what if you don’t feel depressed or anxious? Could you still benefit from therapy? The answer is: absolutely yes.
I have been a psychotherapist since 2015 and have counseled people for a variety of different things beyond depression and anxiety. I see people who are struggling with a coworker or boss. I see people who are feeling stuck in their life, but don’t know why that might be, or who want to feel more content. I see people who are about to make a big change and need support to cope with the anxiety around it, even when it’s a positive change. There are also who are struggling with unhealthy communication in their relationships, causing increased conflicts. And others who are generally passive and want to build skills around being more assertive. It is also good for you to know the majority of people who seek counseling do not need long term therapy. Often after a few sessions you might feel good enough to end therapy.
Therapy can help with common problems such as a lack of healthy supports. Sometimes friends and family are not as helpful as we would like them to be. There is no doubt that utilizing your natural supports is a great way through tough issues in life, but sometimes they can be too emotionally invested in you to help effectively. Or they may not be able to offer the support you need at that particular time. This is where a therapist comes in. A therapist takes a non-judgmental stance to whatever is happening in your life. They can help you gain insight and understanding of the situation and of yourself and ways to proceed in a healthy manner. Or they can just be there to listen if that is all you might need.
Therapists are good at helping you gain an understanding of different perspectives. We as people naturally see things from our own unique perspective in life. Our feelings are based on something similar happening in the past or our fear of what could happen that impacts our ability to be more rational about a situation and proceed in a healthy way. Therapists can help identify how your past, emotions, and fears affect what you do, say, and feel. Then we help you come up with solutions, or even a way to accept a situation you can’t control.
Therapists can help you gain better coping strategies that can come in handy in many areas of your life- from your workplace, interpersonal relationships, and even parenting. By learning intentional ways to cope with current and future stressors, you reduce the overall effect of those stressors on your life. The process of therapy often helps to build your self-confidence and a sense of well-being in your life.
The good news is that studies show that therapy is effective. According to a Psychology Today study: “A large majority (80%) of those with a history of either therapy or medication use report that their treatment was effective.”
The important thing to note is you should like your therapist. You always have a choice in whether you see a particular counselor or not, just like any other provider in your life. If you’ve seen a therapist a few times, but you don’t feel a sense of connection or safety, try a different therapist until one fits. We all have our own personalities and treatment backgrounds. Just like you don’t become best friends with everyone you meet, the first0. counselor you see might not be the best fit. Keep at it because when it is a good fit, you will know.
You do not need a referral from your doctor to start seeing a therapist. All you have to do is make a phone call to a therapist’s office to start the process.