Why Do People Go to Therapy?

Individual therapy is something that many people choose to do for many different personal reasons, but the general purpose is to improve mental health and quality of life. Therapy is a generalized term for psychotherapy, which on a basic level entails counseling between a licensed mental health professional and a client or patient.

There is sometimes a common misconception that therapy is just for people in need of treatment for a mental health concern. For example, someone with a cocaine addiction or other substance use disorder might go see a therapist, not necessarily of their own volition, but in compliance with clinical recommendations or under pressure from concerned family, friends, and loved ones.

In fact, people frequently choose to see a therapist whether they are experiencing mental health issues or none at all. Having confidential talk therapy sessions with a mental health professional is an opportunity to do some deep self-exploration and gain valuable self-awareness. 

The following are some common reasons why people make the decision to give therapy a try, and some of the ways they can benefit from going to therapy sessions on a regular and consistent basis.

To Resolve Relationship Issues

All relationships, even the healthiest ones, encounter conflict from time to time, and not only in romantic partnerships. Any relationship, whether between friends, neighbors, siblings, colleagues, and spouses, can go through difficult phases, and it can be stressful for both sides to process and express their emotions in the heat of conflict.

In what is known as conflict resolution therapy, people can learn new communication strategies for finding solutions to conflict. A therapist can help them gain perspective on their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in the relationship, and try to understand and empathize with the other person involved in the conflict.

Marriage counseling and couples therapy are also effective ways of resolving differences in a relationship, but this involves a three-way approach and some people prefer one-on-one therapy sessions with a therapist, to work on conflict resolution in a private and neutral space. 

To Process Trauma Major Life Events

Everyone experiences major life-changing events, such as career downfalls, loss of employment, loss of a loved one, and traumatic experiences. Such events can trigger intense, sometimes overwhelming emotions that are challenging to process alone. Grief counseling can be critical for helping someone get through a crisis. Grief is a very complex emotional response to a significant loss and it can take time to move through the different phases.

The five phases of grief are the following:

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

When working through each of these phases in therapy, a professional who is trained specifically in grief counseling can provide guidance through the grieving bereavement process, which can be prolonged depending on the person and the impact of the loss. 

To Improve Quality of Life

Some people go to therapy without any specific goals or intentions in mind. They may simply want to explore their innermost feelings and process their more challenging emotions. A lot of memories, thoughts, feelings, and emotions dwell in the subconscious, and therapy can help to bring these to the surface, allowing a deeper understanding of how they affect behaviors, relationships, and quality of life in general.

Establishing a foundation of trust with a therapist enables a channel of communication for expressing intimate feelings and emotions. This can help alleviate anxiety and decrease the burden of stress. It can also help to improve self-esteem and focus on what adds value to one’s life. The awareness generated by therapy can be used to deepen relationships with self and others, and to help people overcome their fears and obstacles to achieving life goals. 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/06/03/11-intriguing-reasons-to-give-talk-therapy-a-try/?sh=11fa2e2a4ebb

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/therapy

https://www.verywellhealth.com/benefits-of-therapy-5219732

https://psychcentral.com/health/reasons-to-see-a-therapist

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