We all suffer from emotional and psychological issues from time to time. Stress is a psychological reaction to situations that provoke low-level fear and uncertainty on an ongoing basis. While there are plenty of psychological issues and traumas we can cope with ourselves, sometimes these issues can be overwhelming. At this point, it’s time to see a professional such as a psychologist.
What Does A Psychologist Do?
A psychologist has a degree in psychology and may have training in any of several facets of the field. A research psychologist focuses on research, while a clinical psychologist provides treatment for mental health issues. A counseling psychologist is trained specifically in providing counseling.
Counselling, or psychotherapy, typically involves “talk therapy”: discussing the situation or situations that have led to the issues in question, relying on your therapist’s expertise to find ways to cope – or ways to remove the issue entirely. Your therapist can provide a perspective that you and those closest to you may be unable to see.
Therapy is, fundamentally, about dealing with your mental health issues. While some cases may require medication, research shows that talk therapy has the most long-lasting and positive effects. Psychotherapy typically has a clearly defined end goal. If you suffer from stress, the goal is to manage the stress or to remove the sources of stress. If you suffer from depression, the end goal is to manage your depression so that it will not be crippling.
Your therapist will give you skills and tools to help you cope with the issues in your life. The skills you learn with the help of your therapist will help you long after your therapy has ended.
Mental health is not a frivolous issue. Research shows that one in twenty-five Americans suffers from a mental health issue that can be considered serious, and yet less than fifty percent receive help. Mental health issues can be crippling – or even deadly. Suicide is the second most common cause of death for people aged ten to thirty-four.
Reasons To See A Psychologist or Psychotherapist
A psychologist or therapist can help you deal with whatever you have encountered in your life that is affecting your mental health. If you find that one or more of the list below fits you, it may be a good time to consult a therapist:
- Do you find yourself overwhelmed to the point where you can’t sleep? Does stress leave you unable to breathe? If you have experienced this for a period of time, it can lead to real physical harm.
- Do you find yourself constantly worn out? Fatigue often results from emotional and mental issues. It is also an indicator of depression.
- We all feel upset at times. However, do you feel that rage and resentment linger, or that they seem disproportionate to the situation? Do you find yourself prone to violence? Then it is vital that you seek help before serious harm occurs to yourself or others.
- Do you find yourself having difficulty leaving your home? Do you fear being trapped?
- Anxiety. While it’s natural for us to worry at times, if anxiety leads to physical symptoms or takes up a substantial part of your day, a therapist can help you develop tools and mechanisms for dealing with this kind of crippling anxiety.
- Do you find yourself losing interest in your activities, your work, or your home life — or life in general? Do you find yourself feeling like life is pointless, or that everything is hopeless? While we all feel this way occasionally, persistent feelings like these indicate depression.
- While we all need alone time, and introverted people need to be alone more than the average person, if you find yourself avoiding people for long periods, or if you feel fear when you’re with other people, a psychologist can help you work through your feelings and manage them.
The Therapy Stigma
Many individuals continue to see a stigma attached to asking for therapy. Some respond with outrage when a loved one suggests they seek out the help of a psychologist or therapist. This stigmatizing of therapy can have dangerous consequences.
If you suffer from a mental health issue, you need to understand that seeking therapy is not an admission of failure. Hiring a plumber to fix a leaky pipe is not an admission that we can’t do the job ourselves. Having a doctor perform surgery to repair an injured knee is not an admission that we can’t cope with knee pain. And seeking a therapist to learn ways of coping with stress or dealing with some other form of a mental health crisis is not an admission that we can’t “tough it out.”
Be prepared to be open and honest about your feelings and your life when you visit a therapist. This can be a difficult process to embark upon. It will require you to face your mental health struggle head-on. Keep in mind that you will come away from the process with skills that help you cope.
If you believe someone you know will benefit from therapy, it’s best to encourage that person rather than attempting coercion or pressure. People who feel they’re being pressured often react negatively.
Therapy Versus Crisis
If you are in crisis, or know someone who is in a crisis such as pondering suicide, this is not the time to seek out a therapist. More immediate intervention is required. Reach out to a suicide hotline. Most now support texting and online chatting. This should be your first step.
Once you no longer face a crisis, that is the time to seek a psychologist to help you overcome the emotional and psychological issues that drove you into crisis.
Here at the clinic, our staff psychologist, Dr. Jean-Baptiste Cossoul, is ready to assist you. He has a broad range of training and experience in managing depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and more.