More than 20% of adult Americans experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, or another mental illness in any given year, highlighting the value of seeking professional therapy when needed. But not everyone gets the help they require, which begs the question of why therapy from a professional therapist is important.
What is Talk Therapy
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a method of helping people who experience a wide range of mental illnesses and emotional problems. A professional therapist can help you eliminate or manage worrisome symptoms to help you function better through increased wellness and healing.
This kind of therapy is rooted in a collaborative relationship between you and your psychologist. Dialogue-focused, it offers a supportive environment and encourages you to talk candidly with a trained professional “who’s objective, neutral, and nonjudgmental.” The goal is simple: identify and change thought and behavior patterns that are preventing you from feeling healthy.
The Benefits of Working with a Professional Therapist
Therapy sessions often take place in a therapist’s office on an individual, group, couple, or family basis for adults and children. In many cases, someone who sees a healthcare professional does so after first speaking with their primary healthcare provider. The purpose of this initial visit with a medical doctor is to see if an underlying health problem is causing depression or other symptoms and, if so, decide how to treat such a condition.
There are many reasons why therapy from a professional therapist is essential, among them:
- Most sessions happen once a week for about 45 minutes, but the positive outcomes can last much longer. The goal is to talk through your immediate problems and provide coping mechanisms, but also to help you develop long-term strategies for dealing with stress, anxiety, and other triggers causing emotional or psychological distress.
- Seeing a professional therapist may help soothe physical pain related to psychological trauma. Mental stress can lead to short- and long-term physical symptoms which, if left untreated, can result in other more serious problems.
- Working with a professional therapist may help to increase your emotional intelligence, which helps people recognize, regulate, and express their emotions while understanding their own and other people’s emotions. Therapy can help you deal with repressed emotions, which could have toxic side effects if not dealt with in a positive, constructive manner. They could resurface when least expected, so continually repressing them is inadvisable.
- Emotional distress can sometimes lead to passive-aggressive behavior, which is a way “of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them.” This kind of behavior can lead to unusual sarcasm, resentment, and cynicism, but a professional therapist can help deal with negative emotions in a constructive manner.
- It’s not always easy to see the world from someone else’s perspective and can lead to personal and professional issues that worsen over time, but professional therapy helps resolve that. After multiple sessions, therapy will help you recognize and understand someone else’s perspective, even if you disagree with it.
- Seeing a professional therapist is key because it may offer coping mechanisms to deal with uncertainty. According to the University of Michigan student counseling services, while some of us can “roll with the punches,” adjusting to changes speedily, others may grapple with the unknown and experience changes in coping, mood, sleep, and appetite habits. Having difficulty with uncertainty may be related to anxiety, compulsions, depression, panic attacks or disorders, and stress.
- People often internalize their problems, talking about them in their heads in an endless circle of failing to get to the critical aspect. But verbalizing those problems with a trained, compassionate therapist can be the key to defining what’s wrong and help you wrap your arms around it. Understanding psychotherapy also is essential in getting positive outcomes from it.
- Psychotherapy helps you understand the numbers and their meaning. Mental illness is a severe problem for millions of Americans, with a sizable percentage not seeking or receiving the care they need. By talking with a therapist, you may begin to understand the scope of the problem and realize that you’re not alone.
Reaching out to a professional therapist to improve your mental wellness is a crucial step if you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, mood changes, or other emotional problems. But there are other potential remedies worth considering, including self-help, diet and lifestyle changes, medicine, and ketamine therapy. Ask your therapist about these options to learn which one may be right for your specific needs.