What is Mental Health Counseling

How do I know I really need therapy?

Most of the time we are able to navigate through issues on our own, we have found ways to cope that seem to work for us. There are times however, where those coping skills seem to not be working, or when we are struggling with something beyond our scope of self-care. Therapists help to guide you through struggles, to talk to you and give you educated advice with what you may be going through. There is no shame in asking for a little more guidance and for admitting that you may need the opinion or help of someone else. If we are all honest, I believe that most people would seek therapy from time to time in our lives. There is a stigma that surrounds mental health and admitting that we have issues. Seeking out help has been known to bring a label of “weak” connected to it, and that could not be farther from the truth. It takes great strength to admit that we cannot do everything on our own and that we may need to seek the guidance of someone else. Our brains are one of the most powerful, mysterious and vital organs in our bodies. If we have heart disease, we seek out a doctor. We get an opinion, we get a treatment regimen and sometimes even medicine. If we treat our hearts in that way, shouldn’t we treat our brains the same?

What can I gain from therapy?

Therapy is an amazing addition to caring for your whole self. Some benefits of therapy include but are not limited to:

  • Understanding yourself better. Understanding your values, your past, reasons you react in certain ways and even symptoms you may be experiencing.
  • Learn new ways to cope with life stressors and get more tools for your tool box.
  • Learn how to talk about what you are feeling and gain empathy for others who may be going through similar things.
  • Self-acceptance and self-esteem increases. When we understand ourselves better it is easier to accept who we are right where we are and adjust our expectations to a more realistic level.
  • Changing behavior patterns that we have adapted over the years that may be harmful to our success and emotional well-being
  • Learn how to solve problems
  • Increases quality of life

What are the differences between Psychiatrists, Psychologists etc..?

There are differences in the education of certain types of mental health practitioners. Psychiatrists are M.Ds., which mean they have gone through medical school and are state licensed to provide medication. Most do not provide talk therapy which has proven to bring lost lasting effects.  Psychologists have their Ph.Ds., which mean they have gone through a doctoral program and provide talk therapy, they cannot prescribe medication. Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Clinical Social Workers have been through a 2 year master’s program and are required to get 2 years and 3000 hours of post-graduate supervised work. LPCs and LCSWs also cannot provide medication but do provide in depth talk therapy that is diagnostic and solution focused.

What will therapy be like?

Therapy is different for every individual. Sometimes we seek therapy because of a life change such as a death, divorce or a change in jobs. Other times we need therapy because of persistent thoughts, sleeping issues, feeling sad most of the time or even marital issues. Therapy is an inviting environment where the therapist work together with the client to discuss history and concerns and work through them in a collaborative relationship. It is not the traditional image that most people have of having to lie on a couch while a doctor with glasses talks to you and asks “how does that make you feel”. There are couches, yes, but they are comfortable and you can choose to lay, only if you want to! It is a place where the goal is to make you feel safe and invite you to express yourself once trust is established. It is at your pace and in your control, the therapist is there to listen, challenge and help bring resolution.