Many of us may have experienced the relief of getting something “off our chest” with a trusted confidante. We may also have experienced the disappointment—an even hurt– when we try to talk to someone about an issue we are having, only to feel judged or like our problems are not important.
Not as many of us have had the experience of participating as a patient in counseling or therapy. Barriers like fear of the unknown, of trusting a stranger, reluctance to take time for ourselves and financial costs may have prevented some of us from taking this step. Consequently, some of us, and some of our friends, family or coworkers, do not know that professional counseling can be a really wonderful experience!
Here are 6 out of many positive benefits to keep in mind about professional counseling:
- Short-term counseling can be very effective. In fact, cognitive behavioral therapy, an evidence-based practice used widely at Walden and other behavioral health programs, is designed for short-term use. It focuses on how our thoughts and feelings influence our behaviors and how the exploration of this connection can have a positive impact on us, our choices, and our behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is used to successfully treat a wide variety of mental health problems and illnesses, to include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addiction.
- Mental health is an important part of overall health, and yet its role in our overall health is easily overlooked. People put off seeing someone about behavioral health problems, but this can be as dangerous to our wellness and putting off a visit to the doctor over a fever lasting several days, unexplained weight loss, or any other potential threat to our health.
- Counseling can help to improve the amount of joy we find in life and increase our ability to participate more fully in life. One of the primary goals of counseling is to help participants improve their experience of living, through dealing with a specific issue or on goals that the patient has set.
- Counseling can reduce stress. A reduction of stress also has a positive impact on our physical health.
- Counseling can help with specific life problems. For example, at Walden, we offer counseling resources that respond to a range of specific issues, including a crisis, intimate partner or relationship violence, unhealthy relationships, feeling blue, addiction to alcohol or drugs, problem drinking or drug use, trauma, and problem gambling—to name a few. Counselors are trained to offer non-judgmental assistance in helping patients work through problems and set goals allowing for change.
- Counseling can help participants find out about additional care or resources that might help them. For some of us, working with a counselor can introduce us to additional options for professional help, such as psychiatry and other specialized medical care, holistic health strategies and self-care options we might want to try, and even peer support groups that help expand our network of folks who understand and care about us.
Note: No post of Walden Sierra (Walden Behavioral Health’s) Behavioral Health Blog is to be considered medical or therapeutic advice.