What A Therapist Can Help You With
First, just by reading this guidebook, you’re taking a step towards improving your health. That’s awesome. If you’re dealing with negative thoughts or emotions of any kind, a therapist can help you. Therapists can help you with a wide range of issues:
relationships (significant other, parents, friends, colleagues)
finding your life purpose
cultural issues (ethnicity, sexuality, gender)
life transitions (moving, changing jobs)
losing a loved one
What’s interesting about this list is most of the issues (which are bolded) are not mysterious clinical disorders. Therapists can definitely help you with depression, anxiety, and other disorders, but they can also help you with a wide variety of everyday issues. So it’s okay if you don’t have a diagnosable disorder, or if you aren’t sure.
You also shouldn’t feel guilty if you can’t articulate exactly what’s bothering you. This is expected, and one benefit of therapy is it helps you put words to what you’re experiencing. If you’re dealing with negative thoughts, emotions, or behaviors, a therapist can help you.
Does Therapy Work?
Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. Therapy works. If you see a therapist, 80% of the time, you do better than someone who doesn’t. This has been shown across hundreds of studies with many thousands of participants.
Furthermore, therapy has been shown to work in a wide variety of situations. It works for all kinds of issues. It works for people of different ethnicities, genders, sexual identities, with different personalities and communication styles. It works for kids, teens, adults, the elderly, couples, and families.
There are no side effects, and the change is long-lasting and hopefully permanent, even after you stop seeing a therapist.
It’s Okay To See A Therapist
I’ve seen a therapist. 30 people in our personal networks - friends, colleagues, relatives - have shared with us they’ve seen therapists. Depending on the particular study, 32-40% of Americans have seen a therapist at some point in their lives.
All of these people have seen therapists:
These are people who are incredibly successful professionally, and to a lot of us, it seems like everything in their lives is going well.
When we hear about mental health, we often hear about the most extreme cases.
People who have struggled immensely with mental illness their whole lives. They have a severe mental illness like major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. They often have multiple disorders. Their stories involve multiple hospitalizations, drug use, self-harm, suicide attempts, homelessness, incarceration, or suicide.
Some of you may have thoughts like:
do I even have a “real” mental health issue?
I don’t have major depression or bipolar disorder, and those are the kind of things that are mental health issues.I can get out of bed every day and go to work or school.
I feel like a fraud seeking help, or talking to people about my challenges as mental health issues.
Let me tell you my story. In college, I was addicted to video games. I played 18 hours a day.
I failed a semester and nearly didn’t graduate on time. Clearly, this was a significant issue. But I graduated on time, and then worked as a software engineer. I’ve quit video games, I didn’t see a therapist for this, and I’m pretty high-functioning.
And it’s video games, something so normal in our society. So many people play video games and seem fine. Honestly, I still feel weird calling it a mental health issue.
This line of thinking is flawed. Just like you don’t need to have cancer to be able to go to the hospital and tell your friends you have a physical health issue, you don’t need an extremely severe mental illness to be able to seek help and talk about it. You don’t have to define yourself by a mental health issue you’re dealing with. But if you feel you need help you should get it, and it’s okay to talk about it.
- Therapists can help with a wide variety of everyday issues, not just diagnosable mental illnesses.
- Therapy works. If you see a therapist, 80% of the time you do better than someone who didn’t.
- It’s okay to see a therapist. 32-40% of Americans have seen therapists.
- You don’t need a severe mental illness to be able to get help and talk about it.