Many people claim that they are “aware” about the use of therapy for mental illnesses. In fact, on both the big and small screens, characters are often shown visiting a therapist to assist them with their mental or emotional issues.
Unfortunately, this “awareness” of theirs leads to the conclusion that only those in dire straits, those with no one else to talk to, or only those with the means can avail of such help. Sadly, this prevents many people from availing of needed help until it is too late, which should NOT be the case.
There is still much to clarify about therapy in this modern age.
Some Important Clarifications about Therapy
1. Therapy IS meant for all.
Aside from worries about the cost, there really is a stigma attached to the idea of therapy. People just don’t want themselves, or their loved ones, to be labelled as “crazy,” particularly in this age of social media where news can spread instantly.
Although self-respect is important, too much pride – either for oneself or for one’s family – becomes a big hindrance. Without professional help, a person suffering from mental or emotional issues has a slimmer chance of getting better and a higher chance of life becoming more difficult.
Mental and emotional problems interfere with many aspects of life, lowering the possibility of success at school, work, or at home. So the earlier a person is properly treated, the better for everyone involved.
2. Therapists are NOT there to judge their clients. They just educate impartially.
The idea of sharing one’s deepest fears and secrets can be very frightening. This is why many choose to stay quiet about such, even if a close loved one is asking.
Therapy, however, is meant to be a venue where a person CAN share these inner thoughts, fears, and desires without being judged, ridiculed, or exposed. Professional therapists know this and approach each situation with an open mind, giving unbiased advice on what to do. As they are not personally involved, it is sometimes even easier for them to notice things that family members and friends cannot see; or share the advice that loved ones with vested interests do not want to say.
When many people are involved, group therapy can become a way for all parties to share their side with an unbiased therapist managing the conversation so that negative emotions are handled well. In such a neutral environment, rocky relationships have a better chance of mending, giving hope to all concerned.
3. Therapy takes time.
Unfortunately, many try therapy thinking it will be a quick fix. But after a few sessions, they decide to opt out because it is seemingly taking too much time.
Just like many other medical conditions or emotional setbacks, therapy requires time for things to sort themselves out. Years of abuse, anger issues, low self-esteem, or addictions cannot be overcome in a week’s or even a month’s time. Sufficient time is needed for the therapist to help sort through the underlying issues, and time is necessary for the person’s heart and mind to finally accept what has happened and move forward in life.
4. Full participation is necessary.
Every person’s circumstance is different, which means the therapist has to consider what approach will work best. This is why there may be different suggestions or assignments for the person to try. If they do not work out, then something else may be suggested in the next session.
Things, however, become difficult when the client does not fully participate. Because of doubts, busyness, or pride, some clients do not accomplish their assignments, making it hard for the therapist to do their job. Full participation is a must for therapy to work well.
5. The client is in control.
Most people are not happy about always being told what to do, especially when one has invested much time and money into something. This is another reason why some shun the idea of therapy as they believe that in therapy they will simply follow someone else’s regimen, not theirs. Such thinking, however, is far from the truth.
While there are protocols that therapists follow, each therapist knows that healing cannot occur if the client is not comfortable with the process. So while there will be suggestions to follow and assignments to do, everything begins with what the person needs as communicated in the sessions. Therapists understand this and are willing to adjust according to what works best for each client.
6. Sometimes the situation may get worse before it gets better.
Since mental issues are very complex, it is often necessary to revisit painful experiences or discuss shameful thoughts or desires. Doing so, however, usually elicits negative emotions which can make the counseling process more difficult to bear. In fact, many clients feel like quitting as they wrongly believe the therapist is adding to their mental burden rather than alleviating it.
But as stated earlier, therapy takes time and requires full participation. And if there are many layers of pain that have caused the present situation, each layer needs to be addressed lest they return to haunt the client in the future. Hence, each client needs to stay the course, knowing that sometimes things have to get worse before changes can begin.
7. Therapists CAN understand what the client is going through.
Some people are hesitant to continue therapy, or even start it, because they believe that their situation is much too difficult for someone else to handle, regardless of their expertise. They think what they are going through is “too crazy” for anyone else to understand, so they opt to deal with it on their own.
Professional therapists, however, have already learned, seen, and experienced much in their training and practice. While each person’s situation is truly unique, there are still many similar emotions and desires that each client feels. So therapists CAN understand what the client is feeling, no matter how grave their circumstances. This is why they are able to help those who seek their assistance.
8. Therapy requires the right therapist.
Unlike other physical ailments, there is no single solution to each mental health problem. Every client’s background and personality have to be taken into consideration before the right steps can be made. This is why it is important that both the client and therapist are able to work well with one another.
While it may seem strange that a trained professional cannot help their client, such an occurrence happens regularly in many fields that require close communication like teaching, coaching, and even wedding planning. Sometimes particular personalities and styles fit; while other times they clash, preventing positive gains. Thus, it pays to put some effort into the search.
One good way is to ask friends for referrals as they may have had firsthand experience. It also pays to search online as many counseling websites post the expertise of their therapists. But in many instances, the “right fit” won’t be gauged until client and therapist have sat down and begun their discussions. Fortunately, therapists are aware of the need for a “good fit” so they are not hurt when a client opts to continue elsewhere.
Christian Counseling as a Better Option
Mental and emotional issues take a heavy toll on both the mind and body. But one other aspect they also hurt is the spirit. This is why even though the person may seem to be on the road to recovery, there may be inner spiritual turmoil that causes them to regress later on. So though secular therapy can be helpful to an extent, it is always better to seek Christian counseling.
Similar to secular therapy, in Christian counseling the latest therapeutic techniques will also be used to discuss and resolve the client’s mental and emotional issues. But most importantly, the faith-based counselor will introduce the client to the love and mercy of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. With prayer and meditation on God’s Word, the client’s spiritual needs will be addressed leading to a more complete recovery.
If you or a friend is suffering from a mental or emotional issue, do not hesitate anymore to seek professional help from a Christian counselor. Complete healing can only begin with the right assistance.
“Comfort Therapy”, Courtesy of Mindy Jacobs Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Group Therapy”, Courtesy of Rudamese, Pixabay.com; CC0 License; “Therapy”, Courtesy of Rawpixel.com, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Screen time,” courtesy of Neonbrand, unsplash.com, CC0 License