Mental Health is a ‘buzz’ word these days. Everyone is talking about it. Some of us are concerned and seek the help we need. Some of us go for therapy and are open about it, while some aren’t. However, most of us don’t know what a counsellor or therapist really does.
Mental health, in simple terms, refers to our emotional well-being- that comprises our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. Poor mental health could be a result of negative patterns in these elements and does not always mean that one needs clinical treatment to feel better.
As a mental health professional, I believe that there are several unanswered questions about therapy, and in this article, I will try to answer as many as I can. For further queries, you can visit my website www.anupmagupta.com and connect with me.
Q1. Why would going to a therapist/counsellor help?
Therapy/counselling helps us figure out our unhelpful beliefs, thoughts and behaviours. One can discuss, analyse and understand their blockages and get clarity about the things holding them back in life. It helps us clarify our issues, explore options, develop strategies using simple yet effective tools and techniques.
Going to a counsellor/therapist is also helpful because,
Most of the time, we just need to be heard and understood (not fixed because we aren’t broken) in a non-judgemental environment.
We need empathy, not sympathy and we need clarity in understanding why we do what we do.
We need help in figuring out our blockages which act as hindrances in achieving our goals.
Many times all we need is to see our situation from different angles.
We need a safe, judgement-free place to vent out our anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, fears, unhelpful beliefs…
It would help us develop a range of emotional and psychological skills that were never taught in schools.
Q2. What could a therapist/counsellor do that a friend or parent could not do?
Most of the time, friends and family have an opinion of us, and even if they don’t want to, they judge us. A counsellor/therapist is trained to be a non-judgemental and empathetic person who listens actively and objectively . Further, a counsellor/therapist is a professional and keeps the confidentiality of the discussion intact.
However, a friend or a parent can become your counsellor if you can open up to them and they understand you and the real issue. They should know how to help you and you should be ready to seek help from them.
A mental wellbeing counsellor or a therapist would never prove anybody wrong or look down upon them. Their role is to motivate and empower them to live a useful and productive life. To do this, they channelise the discussion in such a way that helps you figure out what’s helpful and what’s not. Their tools and techniques can be handy.
Q3. Why is going to a therapist/counsellor a stigma?
People who need help dealing with their emotions are generally considered weak, while seeing a doctor for their physical ailments is normal in our society. Having an emotional issue is pushed away by saying, ‘it’s all in your head.’ People are expected to be aware of ways of handling their stresses and stressors, and to address their emotional breakdowns on their own. Sadly, none of us knows how to do that because we were never taught about it.
We have been raised to believe that discussing our issues with others makes us vulnerable to mockery, judgement or being taken advantage of. In response to this, we’ve stopped acknowledging our issues and pushed them back, effectively failing to make them go away. These issues wait for the right trigger to surface and create havoc in our lives. While handling our issues, many of us struggle to find a solution or cope with it. My 20-year-old daughter says that not every child is privileged to go to a therapist with their parents’ consent. They don’t go because their parents don’t allow it.
Mental well-being is everyone’s right & seeking help is a sign of strength.
Q4. If you go for therapy once, would you always need the help of a therapist/counsellor?
No, that’s not true. What you learn during therapy stays with you forever. If you listen to your therapist/counsellor and follow-through, you’ll learn ways to sort your issues.
From my experience; sometimes one session is enough. However, some of us need a few more sessions and that’s alright.
Q5. Is Counselling/Therapy only for mental health disorders?
Counselling/Therapy is for anyone. Like a physical check-up, an emotional check-up is vital for our well-being, growth and success.
Q6. How does one choose the right therapist?
Try connecting with your chosen therapist/counsellor. Read about them, their blogs, articles etc. Most therapists/counsellors also give a 15-30 minutes free session.
A good therapist/counsellor would,
not find faults or look down upon you
be an uplifter
ask relevant questions
help you explore your potential
make you see things from different angles
be emotionally healthy and possibly going to another therapist themselves
help you see your unhelpful thought patterns and ways to change them
In short, they are the right therapist for you if you felt comfortable talking to them, they didn’t judge you, and you could ask whatever doubts you had.
Q7. What are the factors that make therapy/counselling work?
The only factors that decide the effectiveness of therapy is your willingness to work on yourself & the congruence of your therapist.
To conclude, I would request all of you to ask yourself,
Where will you be in a year if you don’t do anything about your situation now?
What will be your situation in 5 years if you don’t work on your issues now?
What will you lose in 10 years if you keep holding back now?
These are just a few examples of some questions you will be able to answer confidently after talking to a therapist.
Remember, the beginning is always today & choice is always yours!
CBT & NLP Practitioner
Life Coach & Counsellor
For further queries, you can visit my website, www.anupmagupta.com and connect with me.