What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word therapy/counselling? ‘Nah I don't need it’, right? The declination around therapy and therapeutic services has always been there. However since the past few years, there have been some positive changes but those aren’t significant. The taboo still remains. The reason for this is the wrong image that has been portrayed over the years of a person hypnotising his subjects or a patient revealing dark secrets about their life. First, let me just break this myth and tell you that mental health is just like physical health and shouldn’t be looked at any differently.
Now let’s look at some statistics! 1 in 4 people are affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives. India accounted for nearly 15% of the global mental, neurological and substance abuse disorder burden. In today's fast-paced and demanding world, awareness of mental health and taking care is more crucial than ever.
Therapy is not some pill to pop that would instantly make you feel better, rather it is a slow and permanent process. So you need to keep patience and enjoy the bumpy ride of emotions. Let us begin by understanding why you may need therapy and how it may benefit you.
1. Emotional Support and Validation
Life is full of challenges, and it is natural to experience a wide range of emotions in response to these difficulties. However, it can be challenging to find the necessary emotional support and validation from friends or family. Therapy provides a safe and non-judgmental space where we can openly express our thoughts and emotions.
2. Identifying and Addressing Underlying Issues
Sometimes, we may not be fully aware of the root causes of our distress, as they could be deeply ingrained or subconscious. A therapist can guide us through the process of self-reflection and introspection, helping us identify patterns, unresolved trauma, or negative beliefs that contribute to our mental struggles. By addressing these underlying issues, therapy empowers us to heal and grow.
3. Developing Coping Strategies
Life can be overwhelming, and we all encounter stress, anxiety, and various challenges. Therapy equips us with valuable coping strategies and tools to navigate these difficulties effectively. Therapists provide evidence-based techniques tailored to our individual needs, such as mindfulness exercises, cognitive-behavioural techniques, and stress management strategies.
4. Building Self-Awareness and Personal Growth
Therapy is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Through therapy, we gain deeper insight into ourselves, our behaviours, and our thought patterns. With this newfound self-awareness, we can make conscious choices, break harmful patterns, and cultivate healthier behaviours and relationships.
Types of Therapy
Therapy encompasses a diverse range of approaches, each with its unique benefits and techniques. The effectiveness of any particular type of psychotherapy depends on individual preferences, and the nature of the issue being addressed.
Let’s introduce you to some of the most common types of therapy, highlighting their unique approaches and benefits:
1. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
It focuses on the relationship between a person's thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
CBT aims to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and replace them with healthier, more realistic ways of thinking.
This therapy is often effective in treating various mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and phobias.
2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) offers individuals struggling with emotional dysregulation a structured and evidence-based approach to develop skills for managing intense emotions, improving relationships, and promoting personal growth.
DBT provides individuals with practical tools to navigate life's challenges more effectively.
3. Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy delves into the unconscious mind to explore how early life (childhood) experiences and unresolved conflicts may be influencing an individual's current thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
It emphasises gaining insight into unconscious patterns and aims to bring them to conscious awareness.
4. Interpersonal Therapy
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) offers individuals a structured and time-limited approach to address interpersonal challenges and enhance emotional well-being.
By focusing on the connection between relationships and mood, IPT helps individuals navigate difficulties, resolve conflicts, and improve communication skills.
5. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that combines elements of cognitive therapy with mindfulness practices.
By cultivating present-moment awareness and exploring the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, MBCT empowers individuals to develop a healthier relationship with their inner experiences.
Issues Therapy can treat
Therapy is a versatile and powerful tool for addressing a wide range of issues, offering support, guidance, and strategies for healing and growth.
Depression & anxiety
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Substance Abuse and Addiction
Self-esteem and Self-Identity
Grief and Loss
Stress Management and Burnout
What to expect from Therapy
Whether it's your first time seeking therapy or you're considering a new therapeutic approach, knowing what to expect can help ease any uncertainties and make the most of your therapeutic journey.
Initial assessment and goal setting
Building a therapeutic relationship
Collaborative exploration and reflection
Learning coping skills and strategies
Emotional release and processing
Homework and practice
Progress evaluation and adjustments
Closure and transition
Therapy is a transformative process that can enhance one's mental, emotional, and relational well-being. By providing a safe and supportive environment, therapy enables individuals to explore their inner selves, develop coping skills, and gain valuable insights. It empowers individuals to overcome challenges, improve their relationships, and manage their mental health conditions effectively. Seeking therapy is not a sign of weakness but rather a courageous step towards personal growth and a healthier, happier life.