One of the most difficult parts of mental illness is feeling as though you’re alone in the world, which is why it’s so important to talk to a therapist who can help you make sense of your feelings. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness in some form every year, with depression and anxiety being the most frequent. There are many good reasons to go to talk therapy, either in person or virtually. Here are just a few.
1. Learn Good Coping Skills
Therapy styles like cognitive or dialectic behavioral therapy (CBT or DBT) teach patients ways to handle stressors that give them skills to defuse stressful situations before they become significant stressors that endanger their mental health. With therapeutic skills, you can learn how to live in a way that is naturally lower in stress, making your life more manageable.
2. Practice Communication Skills
Therapists are important for people who are making changes to their lives. These changes often mean that it can be important to practice communication in new situations before your communication skills can be put into a more serious context. Therapy can model possible solutions to interpersonal problems so that the patient can solve them in their situation.
3. Learn to Make Healthier Choices
When someone’s emotions are poorly regulated, they often make choices that aren’t their healthiest available option, instead choosing to act in ways that meet immediate desires rather than long-term goals. Therapy can help you learn to make healthier choices when you’re under short-term stress, making sure that your goals remain in sight and aren’t derailed by stress and short-term frustrations.
4. Develop Coping Strategies for Distress
When stress boils over into distress, your coping strategies and mechanisms become even more important exactly when life is putting them most to the test. This is when therapy can help. Mindfulness and other philosophical techniques can give you the edge in distressing situations. Therapy can help teach you how to handle them before you need to. This kind of benefit will keep distressing situations from becoming crises.
5. Learn Family Support Skills
More so than before, therapy isn’t just an individual activity. Couples and families are part of the therapeutic journey more than they ever have been before, and “working on yourself” can become “working on us,” making these relationships stronger and healthier.
6. Identify Mental Health Conditions
The last few years have been very difficult on mental health and people have been hard up for support. Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are huge talking points for individuals of all backgrounds. With some concerns existing about too many diagnoses of these conditions aside, the fact that people are more willing to take care of their mental health has been an improvement recently. Americans have historically had a reputation for being unwilling to handle mental health, but this is changing.
7. Identify and Manage Neurodivergence
Neurodivergence, broadly speaking, is a difference in how the brain processes information. A neurodivergent person can have divergent social processing, as in autism, or divergent attention processing, as in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — commonly known as ADHD. There are many additional neurodivergent conditions including dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others.
A therapist can help a family or individual identify neurodivergent family members and seek assistance for them. Neurodiversity is an important expression of human differences, and finding ways for neurodivergent people to thrive is an important function of therapy.
8. Identify Healthy Support Mechanisms
When you’re going through a hard time in your life, it can be harder to find where your mental health support systems are. As a result, identifying supportive family members and friends is more important than it ever was before, and therapy can give you an edge in this. And as you become healthier, you can become a healthy support mechanism for your family members and friends.
Therapy is becoming even more important in the current stressful world. People are getting more used to reaching out for help. Even so, it can be hard for people to identify specific skills to work on with their therapists. With some assistance, though, it’s possible to get the most out of your therapy sessions. Reach out to Strength for Change today to learn more!