In the past, there have been many obstacles for those seeking therapy services, including stigma, accessibility, time and costs. It is often perceived that therapy is for those who have suffered a life-altering event, trauma, or are living with a major mental illness or addiction. The benefits of therapy are not limited to treating only those in crisis, but it can also provide emotional support to ordinary people who are struggling with common, everyday issues.
Chronic stress has been linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety and can lead to medical-related issues, including high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, and cognitive complaints, such as trouble paying attention, memory loss, headaches, increase in pain levels and sleep disturbances. Research has shown that social and emotional support can help build a resilience against stress.
The most common types of therapy are cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, family, couples and group. Therapy can be beneficial whether you are looking to reduce the impact of stress, manage anxiety or depression, change a bad habit or improve relationships. Whether you choose individual-talk therapy or group therapy, there is comfort in knowing that you are not alone. With the encouragement and maintenance of accountability, you can become more successful at accomplishing your goals and developing emotional awareness.
Therapy is a positive outlet that allows one to establish or improve emotional wellness, confidence, peace of mind and quality of life. It provides interventions to better understand your thoughts, moods, behaviors and to recognize alternative perspectives. A therapist can provide feedback and offer insight into how your emotions are affecting everyday life and your relationships.
Therapy is known for its problem-solving techniques. Learning to re-frame anxious thoughts from a “what if” to a “what then” approach can be very helpful in reducing distress. Focusing on a reasonable solution within our control can reduce overwhelming emotions. Being able to better manage daily stressors or finally make peace with a traumatic event from the past also improves our mental and physical health.
There have also been changes to the accessibility and costs of therapy. The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to extend coverage to mental-health treatment. Most policies allow for between eight to 24 visits per year. Contact your individual insurance carrier for more information regarding coverage for therapy. Free or low-cost helplines and support groups in your area can also be found on the National Alliance of Mental Health website, www.nami.org.