Everyone should be taking care of their mental health right now. With all the stressors of 2020, we believe that everyone can benefit from working with a therapist in 2021. If you want to start therapy for the first time, or if you want to return after a hiatus, there’s no better time than the present. If you’re fearful about taking this step, check out our last post on overcoming a fear of therapy.
At Flourish Psychology, we work with patients through depression, anxiety, grief, relationship issues and so much more. No matter your situation, you likely have a lot to process right now. You may be experiencing anxiety because of the uncertainty of the future, the continuing pandemic or the political climate. Maybe you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or a job. There are so many things impacting your mental health at any given moment. Here are just a few reasons you may want to consider seeing a therapist this year.
To process stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the entire globe, so it’s no surprise that it’s number 1 on our list. The pandemic has been life-altering for everyone in many ways. How have you been affected? Maybe you’re experiencing anxiety related to constant news cycle or maybe you’ve been affected economically. We believe that after surviving such a difficult year, we could all benefit from a few sessions with a therapist.
Seeing a therapist is an ideal way to process any COVID-related stress and anxiety. Our sessions are now online, so you can start therapy from the safety and comfort of your home.
Help with feelings of loneliness
With the pandemic came lockdowns, quarantine and isolation. Many of us have lost our usual sources of socialization and are feeling the effects of loneliness. Loneliness can be devastating, especially for those who are single or who live alone. When you start therapy, you will be better able to process feelings of loneliness and find coping strategies.
Help with feelings of hopelessness
It’s completely understandable to be feeling somewhat hopeless or nihilistic right now. With so much fear and uncertainty in the world, it’s easy to start feeling hopeless about the world the future. These feelings of hopelessness may be happening within ourselves about our own lives and futures. This can easily lead to depression or even suicidal ideation. Working with a therapist can help you to become more resilient in the present and hopeful for a better future.
Heal after the loss of a romantic relationship
The pandemic has affected our relationships in many ways. For some, they may have started spending more time with their partner as they quarantined together. Others may have been separated from their partners. Many people have made the difficult decision to end a relationship and may now be experiencing difficult emotions. Seeing a therapist after a breakup is one of the healthiest way to process your feelings. Your work with a therapist can help you to move forward from a place of healing and self-love.
Get support while you are grieving
The pandemic has taken many lives and many people have faced devastating losses. The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things that we can face. Losing a loved one can leave you confused and angry, even while you are grieving. Grief can affect your work, your ability to take care of yourself, and your outlook on life. We can guide you to develop healthy mechanisms to cope with your loss and manage your grief.
Deal with work-related stress and anxiety
The pandemic has affected our work lives. Some have lost jobs, changed jobs or have had other significant changes to their working lives. With many of us working from home, there is a huge adjustment to be made in the way that we work. How have you been feeling about work? Are you overwhelmed by your workload or doubting your abilities? Are you finding it hard to separate your home and work life while working from home?
The work we do is a fundamental part of who we are. Work-related stresses do not stop at the office and may affect your relationships, your home life, and your general mental health. The therapists at Flourish Psychology understand the impact of a fulfilling career on your overall wellbeing. We want to help you to do your best work so you can live your best life.
Whatever your reason for wanting to start therapy, you should feel proud of yourself for taking this step. We want to make sure you are paired with the best therapist to meet your needs. By scheduling a free consultation, you’re well on your way to making positive changes in your life.
Starting therapy is one of the biggest decisions you can make. It takes courage and self-awareness to come to the realization that you can benefit from therapy. Above all, actually making and going to your first therapy appointment may feel scary for several reasons. It’s important to realize that these feelings are completely normal and that you are capable of calming these fears and getting the help you need. People fear therapy for a variety of reasons. As a result, they may put off seeking help.
Here are a few common fears that people have about therapy with tips on how you can address them.
Fear #1: I’m afraid of opening up to a complete stranger about my innermost thoughts
Notably, this is perhaps the most common fear that prevents people from going to therapy. It’s 100% reasonable to have these feelings. Sometimes, we are not even able to speak to loved ones, partners and close friends about our problems. There may be things that you have never mentioned to anyone before because you are afraid of judgment or how you will be perceived. Opening up to a complete stranger can feel downright terrifying.
With this fear, the most important thing to remember is that you are in control of what you decide to open up about. You don’t have to dive into your deepest, innermost thoughts until you are ready. You can take your time to become more comfortable in a therapy setting and explore different topics at your own pace. Your therapist will not rush you to open up before you’re ready.
Some people are comforted by the knowledge that their therapist “ceases to exist” after the session is over. Because your interactions with your therapist are limited to your sessions, you won’t have to worry about these interactions affecting any other aspect of your life. The relationship you form with a therapist is like a blank slate. They are not emotionally involved with you and are largely unaffected by the decisions you make. For example, you may be afraid to discuss something with a partner or coworker because of how it may affect your relationship or your work going forward. Your therapist can exist in a vacuum and your conversations with her will not directly affect the other areas of your life. This can make it easier to open up in your sessions, when you’re ready to do so.
As time progresses, and if your therapist is an ideal match for you, you may gradually feel encouraged to start opening up with more complex or difficult issues. This will allow you to make significant progress on your mental health journey. Think about it this way: we often open up to physical health professionals (such as dermatologists, gynecologists and urologists) in ways that initially feel uncomfortable, but ultimately help us to lead healthier, happier lives. It may help to take a similar approach with mental health professionals, too.
Fear #2: I’m afraid that I’ll be judged (by my therapist or by others)
Fear of judgment is another common factor that prevents people from seeking therapy. We are either afraid that we’ll be judged by our therapist, or that other people in our lives will be judgmental when they learn that we are in therapy.
Remind yourself that a good therapist will never judge you. Therapists undergo specific training to create a safe therapeutic environment. They are professionals who are well versed in the broad spectrum of mental health issues and the human condition. They are able to take an objective and clinical perspective, which allows them to guide you towards solutions. Your therapist is there to help, not judge. Remind yourself that your therapist has spent a lot of time studying and being exposed to a wide variety of problems, fears, thoughts and behaviours. It’s unlikely that your therapist will be shocked or taken aback by the thoughts and behaviors that you share with them.
On the other hand, if you’re concerned about other people judging you for going to therapy, here are two things to remember. The first is that this is a personal choice and you don’t have to let anyone know that you’re in therapy. The second thing to remember is that those who love and care for you will be happy that you’re seeking help and trying to become a healthier person. Anyone who judges you for going to therapy is probably uneducated about the benefits of it, or may be projecting their own fears onto you.
Learning how to be confident in your decisions without caring too much what people think is one thing that can be accomplished through therapy.
Fear #3: I’m afraid That therapy won’t work
Sometimes, people are afraid that they will invest time, energy and money into therapy and it won’t work. You may even be afraid that your problems are unfixable. Remind yourself that millions of people have had successful experiences in therapy and that the techniques used by therapists have been researched and refined for decades. Generally speaking, most people see tremendous benefits from attending therapy. Trust that it can work for you, too.
It’s important to remember that therapy requires a lot of effort on your part in order for it to work. You may have to do a bit of trial and error to figure out which clinician and which techniques are most helpful for you. It may take a few tries to get it right. This does not mean that it won’t work. When you find the treatment plan that works for you, it can be life-changing. Putting effort into therapy will reap major rewards for your overall wellbeing.
Fear #4 I’m afraid of reliving difficult or traumatic experiences
If you have experienced a traumatic experience, it’s normal to repress or avoid thoughts about the experience. Many people are fearful that therapy will force them to relive their traumatic situations. Remember that your therapist will move at your pace and you don’t have to dive into anything before you’re ready.
More importantly, remind yourself that facing your difficult emotions is the only way to truly manage them. In order to heal from a traumatic experience, we cannot avoid it. These thoughts and memories will not go away by ignoring them indefinitely.Therapy provides a safe space for you to explore these memories and thoughts with the support of a trained professional. As you become more comfortable with therapy, you will find it easier to cope with these difficult thoughts and emotions.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Notwithstanding the fears and reservations you may have around therapy, you can still take this step on your journey to better mental health. You can even share your fears with your therapist during your first session. In the same way that you push through fears in other areas of your life, you can begin therapy. When you’re ready, you can start by scheduling a free consultation to get matched with a therapist who best meets your needs.
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a special type of therapy that incorporates creative techniques such as drawing, coloring, painting and sculpting to assist in treating mental illnesses, processing grief or trauma and developing a more resilient mental state. Art therapy is also particularly useful for self- expression and self-exploration when it comes to topics that are challenging to discuss verbally.
Art therapists are licensed mental health professionals who have done additional studies to specialize in this unique area of practice. We are proud to offer art therapy here at Flourish Psychology thanks to the expertise of our clinician, Faith Bowen, LCAT.
Faith is a board-certified therapist with a specialization in Creative Arts Therapy. She uses traditional therapeutic modalities to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. Faith’s work helps patients to reach their goals and improve their self-esteem. For those interested in a more creative approach to mental healthcare, Faith incorporates the use of artistic methods in her treatment plan. You will see reduced stress and improved self-confidence through your work with Faith. This modality can help you process your feelings and understand your needs leading to better insight and self-growth.
History of Art Therapy
Art is as old as humanity itself. As humans, we have always expressed ourselves as creative beings. Though we have always been aware of the benefits of making and consuming art, art therapy is a relatively new therapeutic modality. It was formally recognized in the 1940’s and became more popular in the United States in the 1960’s. Since then, the field has undergone significant refinement and accreditation.
Who Can Benefit?
Art Therapy is for everyone! Research has proven that this method of therapy is beneficial for patients regardless of age, gender or creative ability. You do not have to be an artist or artistically inclined in order to experience the benefits of this modality
It is especially beneficial for stress management in adults. Using art as a creative outlet to vent is a much healthier coping mechanism than, say, turning to drugs or alcohol. Art is a healthy method of expressing challenging emotions such as anger, sadness, regret or guilt. Since art is an effective method of processing difficult events, art therapy is used to treat post- traumatic stress disorder in adults and children alike
This kind of therapy is helpful for adults and children experiencing social or behavioral problems, as well as learning disabilities. It may also be used to help improve communication and emotional regulation for adults and children on the autism spectrum.
Finally, it is has proven to be effective in treating anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. Flourish Psychology offers this option to clients seeking a unique method of managing stress and treating mental illness. This method may be used in conjunction with other techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.
Though art therapy is particularly helpful for children and creative professionals, everyone can benefit from this form of therapy, regardless of age or artistic experience. Schedule a free consult with us to see if art therapy meets your needs.
Written by Francine Derby.