We all have either been the individual or been around individuals who have gone through anxiety, depressed mood, bouts of fear, worry, stress, addiction and other mental health issues. We keep hearing or saying things like “I really need a break from everything!”, “Life is messed up,” “I can’t deal with this anymore!” “I’m just feeling low nowadays” and so on. Lines like these are just the tip of the iceberg of what a person is going through consciously. There are unconscious emotions, thoughts, memories and motives that drive us and only some of it comes through on the surface level of consciousness.
Mental health problems are on the rise, globally with more and more people suffering from issues that go undiagnosed and untreated. The stigma against mental health care and recieving therapy is very real but at the same time, mental health awareness is on the rise. Information online may not always be trustworthy but there are many reliable sources through which one can become more aware and have a better understanding of one’s mind.What is Therapy? Why should I be interested in it?
Therapy is the process of using psychological methods, theories and practices to help a person overcome mental distress or psychological disorders, change one’s behavior and improve well-being. During this process, a trained mental health professional or a psychotherapist tackles specific or general issues with a client using verbal and nonverbal techniques customized to suit the client’s needs and goals. Therapy helps a person adapt to their environment in a more efficient manner.
Therapy is something that people should be interested in or give a chance to so that they can improve their relationship with themselves and improve mental health. Just as one works on their physical health regularly, incorporating physical exercise and movement into one’s lifestyle, the same way mental health also needs frequent inner work. One doesn’t need to be going through some very severe issue to go for therapy. It is for everyone and can be a lifestyle choice. We usually downplay our mental health issues unconsciously to ourselves, but any seemingly small issue can be a sign of or develop into a bigger one, if we don’t take steps to rectify it. Day-to-day stress, irritations, emotional ups and downs, anxiety, negative thinking are all addressed and worked upon in therapy. The situations that people are in when they come for therapy are varied, ranging from severe stressors such as the loss of a loved one or a job, family or relationship issues, parental problems, divorce, break ups, etc., to apparently less severe ones such as nervousness during social interactions, repetitive worry, issues with one’s boss, and so on. Therapy gives one the space to express oneself without anyone judging you and guides one into working on oneself appropriately.
What to expect when one begins Therapy?
Starting therapy may be daunting and there are always hundreds of reasons to not begin, but there is only a few reasons to do it which center around realising one’s full psychological potential. Here, we have listed the common experiences to expect when one’s begins therapy:
1. Issues finding a good ‘match’
Therapy and personal growth thrives on the therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist. This relationship is influenced by many factors, including the personality traits of both, ideas and opinions, perspectives and so on. A professional therapist is trained to treat every person with empathy, positive regard and genuineness. But sometimes, the individual feels like its not a good ‘fit’ or ‘match.’ it’s alright to address this in therapy and figure out where the resistance is coming from. But it is also alright to try a few more therapists before deciding on one. As long one is not compulsively doctor shopping, jumping from one kind of therapist to another, it is alright to go through a few options and approaches to therapy.
2. Issues with being vulnerable
Many of us are unable to share or confide in someone with total transperancy. Culturally, we are not encouraged to share our deepest and darkest feelings and thoughts and want to present our best selves to others. Sharing all this can be uncomfortable and people face a problem with being so vulnerable I’m front of a therapist.
Some people are able to share negative thoughts, feelings or experienced openly and matter of factly. But it comes from an intellectual space. There is a difference between sharing personal stuff and actually feeling and being vulnerable. It is important to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and process the discomfort that comes with it, in order to dig into the depths of our conscious or subconscious minds.
3. Focus turns inwards
We are mostly engaged with bringing change in our external world, navigating through situations, relationships, work and so on. We very rarely engage in active and routine introspection. Going for therapy turns our attention inwards. From having poor awareness of what’s going on in our minds, we shift to identifying the content in our minds and then to paying attention to how we deal with the content. We become our own pet project to work on.This is great step in working towards mental health and making psychological growth a part of our lives.
4. Emotional discomfort
We may experience emotional distress due to certain ideas put forth during our sessions or activities that one is are to do as homework. Thought and emotional patterns are challenged in therapy, which is imperative in our evolution of mental health. This challenging males us feel discomfort as we are questioning something we have believed or responded in this way for years. Our comfort zone, our attachment to our own patterns and powerful mental conditioning gives rise to distress. Sometimes, past, suppressed psychological issues or emotions also resurface, making one instinctively turn away from therapy. But this process is important and we can learn some of our best lessons by sticking it out in therapy in these tough areas.
When the ego or the identity of a person feels threatened, they may unconsciously try to defend it. Many times individuals in therapy feel defensive about their actions or thoughts when they explore their mind and how the mind is not accepting reality and instead interpreting it in efficiently. People feel like their therapist is attacking their sense of self, or they may reject what the therapist is saying totally even though it does make them ponder over it.
6. Perspective shift
As one begins exploring one’s own thoughts and beliefs, discussing them with the therapist and also through activities and talks during therapy, one begins to experience a perspective shift in some or many areas of life. The attitude towards mental health, perspectives towards people and relationships, towards challenges at work, etc start to change. One’s worldview may also change gradually. It is hard to catch it as it is a slow process but small changes are easier to catch. In fact, even those who are resistant to change can experience a perspective shift if they learn from their resistance.
7. Kindness towards oneself
Many of us are our worst critics, or are very critical about some situations or people. We may push ourselves to not feel or think in a certain way, often suppressing our emotions and thoughts. We have forgotten to be kind to ourselves. This takes away the space that one can create to with oneself and foster a loving relationship with ourselves and different parts of us. Through therapy, we become gentler and kinder to ourselves, nurturing ourself to learn from our triggers and pain. The language used towards one’s own self changes. For instance, people may realise that their anger is in fact a manifestation of their wounded, powerless and hurt parts. Self kindness is a great discovery in therapy and builds a solid foundation for mental health care.
At Zorbacare Rehabilitation center, we aim people to explore their own psychology using different therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Rational emotive behavior therapy or Acceptance and Commitment therapy. Our team helps people achieve their mental health goals, navigating them through the journey towards their ideal authentic self. Therapy, when all is said and done, is a way for us to take control of our narrative, a way for us to nurture our mind, the best tool at our disposal.