There are many reasons why you may need to consult a mental health professional. If your car breaks down, what do you do? Wait for it to fix itself? I doubt it… The same goes for your mental health. Your mindset is a priority!
Common fears of consulting a mental health professional
It is true that seeing a mental health professional can be scary. After all, it is someone who plays in our heads and/or hearts! It’s all about perception. If you choose to view therapy as intrusive, the results will be unsatisfactory. Instead, think of therapy as an exploratory ship in search of information and that YOU are the captain. This way, you will realize that you can find many treasures that no one else would have had the chance to discover! Here are some common fears about therapy:
- Fear of our own vulnerability and/or facing another individual
- Fear of realizing a non-existant or real failure
- Fear of having to change some unhealthy but familiar and comfortable habits
- Fear of self judgement and/or from another individual
- And the fear of worsening our condition by digging deeper, for example following a rape or sexual assault.
It is normal to have these fears about the unknown, but it is important to remember that in therapy you have NO obligation to your therapist. This one will accompany you following YOUR rhythm. The beauty of this type of encounter lies in the distance with which the information is received. The people who have chosen this profession have chosen it out of love and passion for the human being and its various states of mind. Even, and especially, pure strangers!
What should I talk about in a meeting with my therapist?
During a meeting with a therapist you have the choice of what you want to talk about. It may take 15 minutes or more before you even know what to say and eliminate the discomfort. It doesn’t matter! For example, you could start by discussing your day or week. If something in particular has happened that has triggered any discomfort or emotion that is difficult to identify, now is the time to talk about it. One thing leading to another, the words and examples will flow and you’ll have a great sense of release, even if you don’t feel like you’re in the thick of it. As the sessions progress, you will feel more comfortable talking about things that are important to you. And remember that you are the captain and you decide when you are ready!
When to stop consulting
It is important to understand that the therapy stops at the desired moment. However, the desired moment is not always the ideal moment. It’s a bit like taking antibiotics and quitting because you feel better… Feeling better is great because it means there has been progress but it doesn’t necessarily mean the work is over. When you feel that you are finished, it is suggested that you decrease the frequency of sessions to see if it is better to continue or not. Of course, if the patient wants to finish, he or she has the last word!
Which mental health professional to consult?
When faced with signs of suffering, anxiety and depression, it is recommended to seek medical advice (family doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist). The effects of emotional dependence may require specific treatment through couple therapy or behavioral and cognitive therapy (CBT).
Your mental health is as much a priority as your physical health. Let’s not forget the saying “a healthy body in a healthy mind”. The difficulties we experience mentally are often much more subtle, so we neglect this aspect. Remember that mental health professionals are there to help you embellish the environment in which your ship sails in search of its treasures!