DIAGNOSE AND TREAT MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS
This is the obvious choice. Psychology as the study of the mind was originally centred on those who suffered mental health disorders and this interest has continued to grow over time. If you’ve ever heard of any of the very early treatments though you’ll be happy to know treatment has improved substantially over the years!
A trained therapist can assess for, diagnose, and treat mental health disorders. There are several different types of talk-based therapies and the best treatment will depend on the diagnosis and what works best for you and your therapist. If you do seek talk-based therapy and find a particular treatment doesn’t seem to be helping, make sure you let your therapist know because there are many other options out there. Sometimes a therapist will also work alongside a GP or Psychiatrist because certain mental health conditions require medication. Studies have shown though that medication is most successful when paired with talk-based therapy. You’d be surprised by the power talking to a therapist can have!
Another traditional use for talk-based therapy is the resolution of relationship issues. With an objective third party to listen and mediate, talk-based therapy allows couples the space to safely discuss and navigate their issues.
However, you might be surprised to know that you don’t have to be at the “falling apart” stage in your relationship to benefit from talk-based therapy. This type of counselling can also help you to strengthen your relationships even before things get difficult. Your therapist can help you to improve your communication with your partner, increase intimacy, understand your partner’s needs (and your needs) better, compromise and also accept the things you can’t agree on (without stewing on them for years). A good therapist can even help improve other relationships in your life like gaining independence from your parents or relating to your kids better.
One of the most helpful outcomes of therapy is to learn proactive stress management. There is never going to be a time where your life is 100% stress free. Things go wrong, plans change, relationships go through ups and down and if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you never really know what’s coming. Engaging in talk-based therapy can teach you proactive stress reduction techniques and good self-care. If used in daily life, these skills can help you manage stress as it comes up rather than waiting to the point where your anxiety or anger bubbles over into catastrophe.
Everyone has important situations in life that they are hoping to absolutely blow out of the water, like a job interview, speech or first date. But how many times has your success been undermined by confidence?
Self - esteem, or how we view ourselves is a large component of what determines our confidence. If we have high self-esteem, we tend to view ourselves positively and feel confident, but if our self-esteem is low, our opinion of ourselves tends to be pretty poor. This can make it very difficult to feel confident enough to speak up or try new things and negatively impact your mood and motivation.
Self-esteem and confidence are also something that can be improved through talk-based therapy. Even if you feel completely hopeless, we can assure you this is never the case. Everyone has achievements. Your therapist can help you identify these and having an objective third party remind us of our successes can be a huge self-esteem booster. The therapist can then help you to identify your strengths and build upon these by setting and achieving realistic goals. Starting with very easy, achievable goals and working up to more challenging ones will develop a sense of accomplishment and increase your confidence. Most importantly, a good therapist can help you identify and reframe the negative thinking styles undermining your confidence and self-esteem.
SELF-AWARENESS AND INSIGHT
Talk-based therapies aren’t always about “fixing a problem”. Sometimes, therapy can be used to become a better person overall. One of the most common steps that occurs in just about every form of talk-based therapy is that you examine yourself (non-judgmentally), the world around you and how you connect with it. You are asked to consider your own thoughts, feelings and behaviour and how you react to certain situations or triggers. This process increases your self-awareness and helps you to understand yourself better. It also means that you can identify any unhelpful ways of thinking or poor reactions to situations. Rather than just accepting that “this is the way things are” or “this is just how I am” it can lead you to react in a different way to situations and think about things with a more open mind. This has a positive effect on your confidence, relationships, judgment, ability to resolve conflict, problem solve and even helps you understand others better.
PROMOTE HEALTHY BEHAVIOURS
One of the other benefits of gaining insight and self-awareness through talk-based therapy is that you start to understand what makes you tick and why you make the choices you do. This is vital information if you want to make different choices. Take for example if you want to give up smoking; this is going to be very hard if you don’t understand your triggers and the thoughts behind that behaviour. Talk-based therapies can be used to help you engage in healthy behaviours such as getting into exercise, addressing sleep issues, eating healthily or quitting smoking, drugs or excessive alcohol use.
As you can see, there is so much more to talk-based therapy than there used to be and just about everyone has some way they could benefit from it.
Edited, Article written by YOUR counselling