Let’s face it: mental illnesses and therapists have gotten a pretty bad wrap through the years. Again and again, getting help for mental illnesses is paired with a negative social stigma. However, going to therapy could be the best decision you can make for your mental health. Therapists work hard to help you find understanding and contentment with who you are. Here are a few things they want you to know about them and about therapy in general.
You don’t have to be diagnosed to go to therapy.
Talk therapy exists to help you work through past experiences, find understanding, and make resolutions that will increase your happiness. Those are concerns that will likely affect all people at some point in life. Everyone can benefit from having a therapist to help know how to face anxiety and cope with stress. Likewise, coming to a mental counselor for your mental health does not mean you are “mental”. Even the most balanced and capable people can find clarity through therapy. This stereotype too often steers away good people who could benefit from the practices taught in counseling.
What you tell them is private, by contract.
Sometimes people worry that once they open up about their personal concerns, their mental counselor is going to go home and tell their spouse, their neighbor, and their dog about it. Know that counseling is a safe place. Your therapist will usually begin your first session with explaining that they are bound by contract to keep what is said in your session confidential. However, be aware that they are required to report any claims of potential self-harm, harm to others, or abuse.
This isn’t one-sided–you need to participate.
Therapists want to see you heal, but they aren’t magicians. They can’t say magic words and make you happy. Neither can they tell you what to do with your own decisions. Counseling is there to assist you in making your own recovery. That means you have to do what it takes. Sometimes that will mean homework. Sometimes that will mean being willing to talk. Sometimes that will mean participating in practices that might seem fruitless at the moment. Your counselor will act as facilitator to your growth, but you must take the actions that will make the difference.
It’s okay to shop around with therapists.
So you don’t click with your first therapist–that’s okay! Sometimes there just isn’t a good fit. Don’t stay with them out of obligation or resignation. The therapist will not be offended. Having a good fit between client and therapist can produce much more progress. It doesn’t hurt to research a therapist online to understand their general practices of therapy. Also, don’t give up after the first one if that didn’t work out. Keep looking.
Getting better sometimes requires first feeling worse.
Sometimes you’ll start going to counseling and find that things are getting worse. Don’t let that stop you. Putting ointment on your wound may sting at first, but it does help it heal more quickly. Counseling is the same. Therapy involves facing your depression or anxiety in order to find resolution. So even if it’s harder at first, that will end up helping it get better.
Don’t be afraid to get the help you need. If you are in Utah and feel you could benefit from counseling, Corner Canyon Counseling has therapists who are ready to help you on the road of healing. For suggestions on what steps you can take on your own to feel happier, click here.