Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Talk About It Tuesday ~ Psychotherapy: Being Strong Enough To Step Past Stigmas To Be Well

As many of you already know, I write regularly for a psychology website in addition to what I do here. Every so often, I'm given post ideas to assist with raising awareness on specific subjects concerning mental health wellness. Today's subject is one area I feel very strongly about.

Life can be very difficult and the journey, despite what many people may convince themselves of, isn't a road to be traveled down completely alone. Many of us are capable of enduring the different bumps, hiccups and stressors that pop up here and there. But when these issues we face aren't dealt with effectively when they come up, and there are no positive coping methods in place to deal with them, small issues can build up over time and explode with a 'last straw' that presents itself. Not only is this incredibly unhealthy on many levels, those things that were little at first will grow together into something overwhelmingly huge. That's why psychotherapy is so important.

Even though there has been somewhat of a lift on the stigma of therapy over the last few years with people being brave enough to come forward to say, "Hey! I went through this thing and I went to talk to someone. Now I have tools to get through it if it comes my way again", there is still a certain embarrassment or shame placed on that person for going in the first place. I find this sad because these are beliefs that are created by society who often tends to raise an eyebrow to someone seeking outside help. This is disconcerning to me as those who don't get psychotherapy when they need it, mostly because someone around them is telling them to 'get over it' or 'just deal with it', ends up turning to counterproductive and even self-harming ways to cope. Worst of all, is losing that one person who believed it was their only way out.

Psychotherapy, or counseling of any kind, is basically talking to a third party, an unbiased individual, who isn't directly involved with the situation at hand. They are there to talk to when no one else seems to be listening or 'gets' it. They don't tell you what you should do, but suggest ways to see the specific situation through various angles that you may not have seen them through before. They are there to give guidance, information and resources to further therapeutic paths to consider not only to help deal with the issue at hand, but also any issues or residual effects that stem from it. Finally, they advise how to reduce the problem at hand to something 'workable', and offer suggestions on how to continue to maintain that view if the issue comes up again.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for individuals who seek outside help when they realize they need it. This isn't a sign of weakness or anything to be ashamed of. In fact, it takes great strength to admit that a problem exists and requires extra help to deal with, as well as tremendous courage to carry through and stick with it. These are people doing everything they can on their part to function to the best of their abilities in a world that can often seem judgmental, unforgiving and opinionated, even with situations not truly understood.

Perhaps, if effort to educate ourselves more on a certain subject we don't know much about, or that someone close to us is dealing with, than we can offer the support and encouragement to those who truly need it.

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