Photo credits: “MIND” (CC BY 2.0) by psd
It is a common misconception that therapy is reserved for people experiencing crisis or suffering from a mental health disorder. Alongside these misconceptions, there are also societal stigmas surrounding therapy that inhibit people from ever getting the help they need. In reality, therapy is a useful treatment or practice for anyone for any reason.
Emotion is a large part of living — everyone experiences emotions as it is a part of being human. Within society, negative stigmas surrounding being an emotional being can inhibit people from feeling comfortable learning, sharing and dealing with their emotions. Therapy offers us the ability to learn important tools to deal with overwhelming and negative emotions. With these tools, according to scientists, we are able to practice self-care so that we do not become significantly stressed and experience negative side effects such as: outbursts, shutting down, numbness, and a lack of control over one’s self and regulating one’s emotions.
I am sure I am not alone when I say that school, homework, work, hobbies, social lives, and figuring out the next step can be very intense and stressful for students. Instead of forcing yourself to push through, allow yourself to seek the help you deserve! Therapy is great for working through and understanding emotions, to gain insight and interpersonal skills, to have support with decisions or planning or just to vent.
10 common reasons people go to therapy are:
- To talk openly and freely, without the fear of being judged or misunderstood.
- To process life events and changes.
- To improve relationships with others or with yourself.
- To evolve and work through trauma; to change unhealthy patterns.
- For support when you feel overwhelmed.
- For guidance and direction when you are feeling lost or unable to make a decision.
- To ask questions…about anything!
- For a different perspective outside of your friends and family.
- To manage anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, whether you are diagnosed or not.
- Just to talk! When life is crazy or when it is boring!
When seeking out a licensed therapist, it is important to keep some things in mind, like, where do you even start?
Some local resources are free and available for students through West Chester University. This includes The Wellness Promotion Services, which offers individual coaching; Counseling and Psychological Services, which offers individual counseling for both emergencies and non-emergencies; group counseling; and Rammy’s Resources Navigator, where you can search any concern.
You can also use an online database to look for therapists around you and look through the differences in costs and insurance coverage. If it all seems a bit too confusing…ask someone you trust where they have gone and what therapists they have liked.
Yes, therapy can be awkward at first, especially if you are not used to opening up. It is okay to be uncomfortable at first — but it is important that your therapist is not the reason. Finding a therapist that is a good match for you is integral for your openness and expressiveness, and in the end, how much you get from therapy. Don’t get disheartened if your first isn’t your last…you’re worth figuring it out.
Valerie Thomson is a third-year Psychology major with a minor in Literature & Diverse Cultures. VT936649@wcupa.edu