10 reasons to talk to a psychotherapist

I often ask clients that “If I could wave a magic wand, what would be different in your life?  “. This question is the beginning of setting goals for the work that we will do together to help reach that new place.  The following post from the archives, outlines ten reasons to talk to a psychotherapist.  If any of these apply to you, please reach out to a therapist that you can trust.  It can make a big difference in your life!

It was all going so well until…. The only constant thing is change.  It’s true, and how do we cope when the changes are not positive, on our timetable or by our choice?  Sometimes life gets messy and we need help to cope with the stains.

Let’s explore times when you may want to talk to a therapist.

An Exercise

Take a moment and close their eyes. Visualize a positive time in your life.  Perhaps you were happy, motivated, relaxed, engaged, safe, excited, or in love.  If you can’t think of a positive time in your life, imagine what you aspire your life to be like.  Stay there for a moment and relax into those feelings, and enjoy the images that come up from that time.

Now…take a deep breath and imagine what happened to change that time of your life.  Did you or someone close to you become ill, or lose their job?  Did a child leave home, or a relationship end?  If you feel safe, try to stay with those images and feelings for a few minutes.

Now…imagine what is going well in your life at this moment–a beloved person or pet, an enjoyable activity.  Take a deep breath and come back to wherever you are.

10 Reasons to Talk to a Psychotherapist

The goal of the exercise is to experience how changeable life can be–often suddenly. When life pulls the rug out from under us, therapy can help.

1. Change happens—therapy provides a companion for the journey.
Sometimes things happen that we’re not comfortable discussing with our friends or family. A therapist is an impartial listener that provides a safe sounding board–someone to look at pros and cons of possible choices.  Often we need to talk to someone to help us get some perspective on life events.

2. Brain health
For many people, anxiety and/or depression is a current experience.  Pyschotherapy has been shown to be helpful in working through anxiety or depression by providing support to discuss underlying issues that may be contributing to the anxiety and depression as well as teaching skills to help lessen the side-effects.

3. Improved ability to regain balance faster after a life-altering event—grief and loss.
Grief and loss are a part of life, whether it’s the loss of a job, pet, relationship or physical ability.  Therapy is a way to work through the grief process with support.

4. A therapist is an impartial person to talk to about negative emotions/thoughts/etc.—care giving (new infant, elderly parent or spouse).
Taking care of a loved one can be difficult–especially over a long period of time.  As care givers, we are human and can sometimes experience feelings of frustration and anger as we become tired and overwhelmed.  Talking to a therapist about any negative thoughts or feelings can provide a place to release and normalize these feelings and help you to be able to return to your care giving role.

5. Therapists can provide perspective (normalize events in our lives).
Most people, at some point in their lives, wonder if the thoughts, feelings and behaviours they are experiencing are normal.  Because of the wide variety of people and their situations that therapists have encountered, they can provide a sense of perspective about your experience.  If there is some concern about what is happening, a therapist can support you as you move in the right direction.

6. Therapy provides an opportunity to heal from past trauma.
Everyone has ‘stuff’–those past events in our lives that affect how we cope in the present. We often think of trauma as ‘big’ things–a sudden death of a loved one, a car accident, an assault–but trauma is extremely personal and could be something that may appear to be small to some people and is a stumbling block to others.  A therapist can help you to cope with and/or move beyond your trauma and see positive changes in your life.

7. A key person in your life is concerned about you and suggesting that you ‘talk to someone’.
It is sometimes the people that are closest to us that can see when we need help.  Often we become so used to our negative coping strategies that we don’t notice them any more.  If a key person in your life is telling you of their concerns, please listen and think about what they are saying.  Getting help may make all the difference to taking control of your life.

8. You are suffering from body symptoms that are not helped with physical treatments (stomach aches, headaches, muscle tension).
Our bodies are amazing things.  Sometimes they tell us what our minds are choosing to ignore.  The body holds on to negative emotions and past trauma and when physical treatments are not working, it may be time to look elsewhere.

9. You are self-soothing using inappropriate methods—drugs, alcohol, shopping, etc.
Most of us will resort to ‘comfort’ food after a bad day at work or an argument with a friend.  However, when we are doing this daily, or if our self-soothing behaviour has moved on to activities that hurt rather than help, it’s time to get help.

10. An important relationship is going through a rough patch or falling apart.
Relationships are tricky things.  They require work and sometimes get off-track.  Seeing a therapist can provide tools and a forum to help get a relationship past the rough patch as well as provide support if a relationship is ending.

While these are ten reasons to see a therapist, there are as many reasons as there are individuals, couples and families.  Everyone who comes to counselling, does so with their own story and situation.  If you see yourself in any of these reasons, seeing a therapist may be the next step.

Since laughter is said to be the best medicine…enjoy the following classic comedy from I Love Lucy.

 

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