Working as a mental health professional in the state of Goa, one thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that therapy is considered to a major taboo especially with adults. Today, parents are much more aware and accepting to visit a counselor to help their children and adolescents to cope up with their issues, nevertheless when it comes to their own problems, adults prefer to not consider therapy as an option.
Ideally therapy is considered to be one of the last resorts. Most people, who walk into the clinics of Psychologists, come in only when they can no longer deal and function in their environments. Just as we prolong our visits to Dentists until the pain can no longer be contained, we pretty much do the same with our mental health.
It is important to realize that no problem exists in a single continuum and is usually a result of amalgamation of issues on multiple domains of life, which involve personal, professional, career, social, romantic & family.
Common Facts About Therapy
It only works when you want it to work. Therapy is always a voluntary process. Change can only be brought upon when one wants to change and when one sees a particular problem with how things are currently going on or how things are affecting you.
It takes a lot of effort and willingness to change. Therapy is not a one-time destination, where all problems will magically be resolved after one session. It takes a lot more than that.
Therapist is merely a facilitator who assists in helping the client become aware of his or her behavioral, emotional and cognitive patterns. The substantial work is usually done outside the realms of the therapy room with assistance of homework given forth by the therapist. 90% of work is done in the client’s own environment.
Talking About Issues Helps & Works. A lot of us think that talking about issues does not help and we have our friends and family to discuss our grievances. However, any conversations with friends or family do come with their own set of judgments, perceptions of reality, accompanied by what is right or wrong. In therapy, the same conversation is focused in gaining awareness & insights and to help the client look at all domains of the problem in an objective manner.
One rule that most therapists follow is no advising the client. It is very easy to give opinions of how should the situation be tackled. But there is a primary difference between a mental health professional & an over involved relative. The client wherein after discussing the issues at hand in general, we commonly ask what do you expect from therapy decides the goals of therapy? Based on the answers received, a treatment method is decided.
The primary goal of the sessions is to ensure that the client becomes more independent and autonomous to cope effectively with his or her issues.
Common Reasons why People are Afraid to Seek Professional Help
Opening a “Can of Worms” – Majority of people come in therapy focusing on only a single spectrum of the problem. It can be very frightening to know much more about our patterns of behavior and thought process that what we signed up for. Therapy can bring forth a lot of awareness about own self that one is prepared to handle. We prefer living in a narrated storyline repeated over a period of time of how we are and the way we are. Therapy can bring about drastic changes in that storyline that not everyone is prepared to handle.
Resistance to Change – Most of us are predominantly conscious about our problem areas and are more importantly content with complaining and whining about our issues than actively dealing with them. Therapy is all about making changes in our personal lives, which again not all of us are ready to deal with. For some of us our trauma has a special meaning, and healing that trauma can be very scary and we do not know who we are outside the realms of that trauma that defines us, so we choose to resist against any of change.
Misconceptions & Misunderstandings – Therapy does not have a prefixed route. All therapists are different based on their own personality traits & qualifications. Depending upon the issue at hand, and the type of client, the line of action would vary. Therapy is not like getting a medical examination done. A lot of times, we hold pre-conceived notions of what therapy is about. It is important to get all queries resolved before beginning the process
Concept of Privacy & Confidentiality – The most salient factor. It can be very scary to talk about extremely intimate & personal things to a complete stranger. We constantly worry about what if the information leaks, or what if people come to know that I am getting help? As professional therapists, we strive to maintain the identity of all our patients confidential abided by a strict contract.
Do I “Need” Therapy?
Therapy works the best when it is a voluntary choice by the client. The highest chances of therapy working is when the client is accepting towards the fact that there are some underlying issues which might require assistance or help from a professional.
Most often people think that they need a particular reason to come in for therapy. It is not true. Therapy is a process of discovering our own selves. Therapy can help us to learn what we are feeling and where is it coming from along with bringing light upon appropriate healthy coping mechanisms to deal with it. Everyone requires certain assistance to make his or her lives a little better from time to time.
Few Tips before beginning Therapy
Make a list of queries and concerns to ask your therapist before beginning the process. It can involve issues with confidentiality, privacy, fee structure, how many sessions required, how long would it take, how does the process work etc.
Decide what do you want of our therapy. Even if it is vague and general, a rough idea of what would you expect out of therapy.
Do it only and only for yourself. For some people it doesn’t go well or as expected because they enter it for someone else.
One thing we need to prepare for prior to entering session is Change. There is a reason that the current chosen life is not necessarily working out for you. Acceptance towards change of self is required.
Therapy works at its best pace when you use the time in between sessions to reflect, introspect and do the required homework prior coming for the next session.
Not all therapists are the same and neither are all methods the same. Take your time in visiting a couple of therapist before choosing whom you’d like to continue working with. Some people innately get along and some people don’t due to multiple factors. Take your time in deciding
Just because you take a break in between therapy doesn’t mean you cannot go back. One of the things people struggle with is going back to the therapist after ghosting them for whatever reasons. Sometimes we just require our time to analyze and let the information seek in, or become ready to accept things. Your therapist will not be upset with you just because you took some time off.
Therapy is all about you. You get to decide what you want and what you don’t want. You can freely express your concerns to your therapist without feeling guilty about it.
Feel free to ask your therapist about his/her qualifications & experience level during the first session.
You can always request free phone consultation to clear any preconceived doubts before making an official appointment.
Therapy is not always going to a pretty scene. At times, it is going to be uncomfortable and over whelming, be prepared as most change occurs out of ones comfort zone.
Founder of Soul Healing