Meet therapist, coach and founder of Fundamental Health Lindsey Paoli, MFT-Intern.
How Therapy Helps and When to Consider Going
Today, I’m answering a question I hear frequently: At what point does one need to consider therapy?
Now as a therapist, obviously, this feels like a loaded question. However, as a therapist whose mission is to spread the awareness of preventative mental health and remove the stigma of therapy, it’s double loaded. So first, let me give you the “standard” recommendations, and then explain why you should consider doing it sooner.
What Does Therapy Look Like?
Let’s begin with an understanding of what therapy looks like. Therapy, also known as counseling, talk therapy, or psychotherapy, is a collaborative relationship between a licensed professional and either an individual, a couple, or family who is seeking help in reaching a specific goal towards their wellbeing.
There are a multitude of approaches to the way therapy is practiced, with varying degrees of research to support each of the modalities. Sessions can range from simply talking, to role playing with your partner, to dancing, to tapping with your eyes closed and almost anything in between depending on the therapist you choose and their preferred theoretical approach.
Acknowledging Struggles in Therapy
Therapy is intended to help you to address a variety of problems. Families and couples often choose to work on systemic issues such as parenting, “problem child” behavior, and relationship communication. But anyone may choose to work on these and many other options that a professionally licensed therapist can help to sort through such as:
- Emotional dysregulation
- Mental health concerns
- Past trauma
- Symptoms from stress
- Grief and loss
- Coping with medical illness
- Coping with substance abuse
- and more
Because a typical therapist will work to first identify a diagnosis for the problem you are seeking, it used to be recommended that you begin working with a therapist when your symptoms or problems become large enough to disrupt your day-to-day living.
In the Diagnostic Statistic Manual – V (or DSM, and current go-to for mental health professionals) most diagnoses require the client disclose they have experienced several weeks or months of interference in work, social life, and family life. This is sometimes called the “medical model” of therapy and is slowly phasing out as the typical approach.
Don’t Be Ashamed To Seek Help
Contrary to current stigma that indicates therapy should be a shameful and last-ditch-attempt to solve a problem, myself and many current mental health professionals are working to share a message of mental health prevention that looks similar to the way that you care for your body with a doctor or your teeth with a dentist.
If we kept up the dental analogy, daily practice of the MIND Fundamentals would be the equivalent of brushing your teeth, but then as soon as you experience discomfort (such as overwhelming sadness, unhealthy relationship cycles, symptoms that cause embarrassment, or an unhealthy focus or behavior) you should seek to mitigate the issue with a professional before it goes from a cavity to needing a whole root canal. Get it?
I hope this helps and encourages you to feel more comfortable about seeking out help before your concerns feel overbearing. Be sure to check back next week as I teach you how and where to find your perfect fit for a mental health professional!