Most people seem to think that seeing a psychologist means something is wrong. After all, psychologists are there to support people with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, right?
While this is true, psychologists can still benefit us when we’re well. There doesn’t need to be a red flag in order to visit a psychologist and see your life improved. Checking in with your mental health is also important in building mental strength and preventing illness in the future.
Ahead, we’ll take a closer look at some of the common benefits of therapy available to anyone. After all, we check up on our physical health—whether that be optical, dental, or another physical routine test. Why isn’t it the same for our mental health? We’ll also explore the possibility that—while seeing a psychologist might be beneficial—it isn’t the magic answer for everyone.
Building a Support System
Anyone can use a support system to help them get through the tough times. Some are fortunate enough to have a supportive, caring circle of friends and loved ones that can pick them up when they need it.
Multiple studies have shown that a strong support system can be crucial when adversity arises. Those without a support system handle adversity far worse than those with a support system.
Additionally, you can mitigate genetic predisposition and environmental factors when you have a support system. Those with mental illness, for instance, can thrive when they have a support system while a “healthy” individual might have a more difficult time.
How Therapy Can Help
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have people they can rely on. Even if a support network is available, your loved ones might not know the right things to say—or not to say—to help you through tough times.
An established relationship with a psychologist can offer that support system you might need. Although you might not think you need therapy right now, there might be a time in your life when your situation isn’t as positive.
It’s these times that a psychologist can assist you the most. They help you build resilience, so you’re better equipped to deal with adversity as it presents itself.
Developing an Understanding of Others
We make a lot of assumptions and judgements in our daily lives. Sometimes we even project our insecurities and problems onto other people.
We might read into something someone said to us, for instance, when they didn’t mean anything by it in the first place.
Therapy not only helps us develop an understanding of ourselves, but it helps us see other people through a new lens.
Our view of the world—and ourselves—influences how we perceive other people. Visiting a psychologist can help us change that, and give us the understanding that other people might not have the intentions we thought they did.
Organise Your Thoughts
Talking about your thoughts and problems can be therapeutic, but we aren’t always comfortable enough to say what we think. We’re constantly filtering ourselves in our daily lives—even with our own friends—and it’s often difficult to get to the root of what we’re really thinking.
Therapy grants everyone the same opportunity: the chance to talk through our daily lives and thoughts without judgement. Talking through what you really think will force you to put your thoughts and emotions into words.
When we hear some of these thoughts out loud, they sound preposterous or irrational to us. You might have had something bouncing around your head for years without ever expressing it. Once it comes out, though, you’ll see how silly it is.
Therapy’s biggest benefit is that it allows us to understand ourselves and how we think. We can hold ourselves accountable after we gain this knowledge, and will be better equipped to deal with the daily adversity we encounter.
Therapy Isn’t the Solution for Everyone
Therapy is effective, and studies show that it’s almost always better than nothing, but it isn’t a catch-all solution.
Some people may start therapy, get a prescription for antidepressants or antianxiety medication, and think their problems should be over. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Therapy and medication can help with many problems, but there’s no one magic method that cures all. In reality, there are some people out there for whom therapy has little effect.
In saying this, there are ways that therapy can help many of us. Even when you’re happy and content in your situation; therapy can help you develop relevant skills and understanding, making you a stronger, wiser and more resilient version of yourself.
When Therapy Doesn’t Work
Remember: if you feel therapy isn’t working out for you, that doesn’t mean you’re broken and can’t be fixed. There’s always another way, and someone to reach out to.
It’s essential to reiterate this fact to everyone who is seeking help for a mental disorder. A 2015 study showed that publication bias had infiltrated the scientific literature regarding therapy, and that previous research overestimated the effect of therapy—especially regarding depression.
If you find that continued therapy isn’t helping, don’t get discouraged; you aren’t alone.
You may want to consider trying a different treatment method or a new therapist. For immediate support, you can contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, 24 hours day.