Everyone faces challenges, stress, and heartbreak. Add to that the forced isolation from almost two years of a global pandemic – and now heightened levels of anxiety from muddy international affairs – who doesn’t have something to get off their chest?
One of society’s recent accomplishments has been increasing discussions about, and awareness of, mental health needs and conditions. These topics are being engaged more openly and outwardly because they have affected so many people. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as of 2020, one in five adults in the United States has experienced a mental illness.
Even without a diagnosed illness, having someone you feel safe enough to express your feelings with has never been more important.
One of the best available resources, both for those with a mental health condition and those just going through everyday life, is psychotherapy – more commonly known therapy. It involves speaking with a trained individual who can help you process past experiences or unpack current ones, as well as teach you coping mechanisms, control disruptive behaviors, and engage in betterment and healing.
Therapy provides a judgment-free and supportive environment. You can talk about what is troubling you in an open manner or things that might not feel comfortable with a friend or family member. The opportunity to work through your problems with someone makes them less daunting. And, therapy offers structure, with set-aside, regularly scheduled time to actively work toward unraveling the struggles that may stump us in our everyday lives.
As psychologist Marian Margulies, Ph.D. explained, “When I think of the process of engaging in talk therapy, I think of the analogy with writing. The more you write, the more you know what you are trying to say – it clarifies your thinking.”
This process can lead to better self-acceptance and self-compassion, so you can forgive yourself for mistakes made in the past – instead of waiting for repressed feelings to resurface in unfortunate ways later on – and equip yourself with the mental techniques to make healthy decisions in the future. Therapy can also improve your ability to empathize with others, communicate in relationships, and be a positive role model of emotional openness for your children.
Above all, therapy can make you feel better, and that is something we should all be striving for. The thing is, we do not have to do it alone.