Updated: Jul 14
It is not easy to set yourself apart in the virtual world, so I am going to do my best by showcasing my skills in a series of blog posts. This introductory series covers various topics related to initiating counselling and psychotherapy.
This post is about the potential benefits of psychotherapy. To read about the potential risks to psychotherapy treatment click here.
Some don't believe in counselling, and many think we can ignore our problems until they go away. Maybe they aren't comfortable or capable of talking about how they feel, or maybe they have tried but found it unhelpful. There are many who don't even know what psychotherapy is.
Whatever the case, I have learned never to try and directly convince someone to try counselling. Why? Because a belief in counselling is important for it to be effective. If you push someone to try counselling before they are ready, it is less likely they will find it helpful. This will have the negative effect of confirming their belief that counselling is not useful for them.
If you have decided that counselling is a bunch of malarkey, this post is not for you. This post is written for those who are curious about what counselling and psychotherapy have to offer. In this post, I outline five potential benefits of the process of psychotherapy.
1. New Perspective
My favourite part about being a psychotherapist is the "aha" moments. The way someone pauses after I say something that resonates tells me that, as a psychotherapist, I am on point. Some almost experience a sense of relief as they can drop a belief that has been weighing them down. It makes for gratifying work.
Psychotherapy can help you discover why you keep having the same problems at work or in your relationships. It can help you learn what a healthy relationship looks like (it might surprise you.)
We learned how to react to situations from those who we grew up with. What we learned was not always the healthiest reaction. Psychotherapy will help you see things from a different point of view to better understand yourself and the obstacles in your life.
2. New Skills
Psychotherapy is a structured form of counselling heavily focused on skill-building. From a psychotherapist, you can learn to better identify and communicate your thoughts and feelings. You can learn ways to tolerate feeling dysregulated. You can learn to let others own their moods and reactions.
You can learn new coping skills to help you deal with overwhelming emotions or reign in negative self-talk. You can learn to set effective boundaries and prioritize your self-care.
One of my primary goals as a psychotherapist is to help people become their own psychotherapist. Through reflective practice and goal setting, the client and psychotherapist process problems and develop a plan to implement. In the beginning, the psychotherapist takes the lead, but over time the client learns to break down a problem independently.
One of the most important things counselling and psychotherapy can provide is space to feel your emotions and speak your truth (maybe for the first time). You may need to learn how to set boundaries before enjoying your space, but psychotherapy can help with that too.
Consider the term emotional baggage. For me, this conjures the image of a suitcase – barely closed with clothes hanging out, busting at the seams. To put things in order, we need space to unpack, sort through the mess and decide what we need and what can be tossed. We need space to examine the items without being judged, pressured, or having to consider the emotions of others so we can focus on ourselves.
After deciding what to keep, we need space to fold it and put it back in the suitcase in an orderly fashion so that it can be stored away, taking up much less space in our lives.
Finally, psychotherapy provides us with the space to practice being our authentic selves. So many of us carry the expectations and emotions of others that we lose ourselves beneath the layers.
In the beginning, psychotherapy gives us the space to be ourselves. In the end, it teaches us how to create space for ourselves.
4. Improved Relationships
Nothing is guaranteed, but most people will experience some improvement in their relationships during and after attending psychotherapy. As you learn the skills of setting boundaries and managing your emotions, you will start being more present in your life.
The more present you are, the less opportunity there is for miscommunications or excessive worry that makes you fatigued and irritable.
As you learn to set boundaries, you will be able to be there for people without being consumed by their emotions.
It is important to know that not all relationships will improve. Healthy relationships based on support may grow deeper and more meaningful. Those based on mutual misery may, ultimately, come to an end (or at least experience some serious turbulence.) It is important for people to consider the potential consequences to current relationships should they pursue counselling or psychotherapy.
5. Improved Quality of Life
This is the ultimate goal of psychotherapy, to improve your quality of life. Quality of life (QoL) is composed of life satisfaction and functioning across several domains. QoL is an in-depth topic worthy of its own post (at bare minimum).
Placeholder for a link to a future post on Quality of Life
Quality is often subjective and difficult to define. It can be assessed in different ways, including subjective (personal) assessment of functioning, life satisfaction or symptom severity.
There are many QoL indicators so it is important for the client and psychotherapist to identify the client’s priority domains before formulating the plan.
Every treatment has its risks, and as the client, you decide to participate in psychotherapy or not. To make this decision, you must be informed of both the risks and benefits associated with psychotherapy treatment. This post outlines five potential benefits of counselling. To read about some of the risks associated with counselling, read this post here.
Now might not be the right time, but if you feel ready to try psychotherapy, contact us at your preferred coordinates (online, email, phone) or click here to book your free consultation today.
LAH Counselling is not a crisis service. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, mental health crisis, or there is a concern you may hurt yourself or someone else, contact 9-1-1 (for residents of Ontario) or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You can also click here for a list of crisis services.