things mental health professionals need to know about
Misconceptions abound about what it means to talk to a mental health professional. The need to talk about your emotions is seen as something to poke fun at, weak or shameful. That stigma is often why people dont seek help in the first place.
But heres the reality: Therapy is an incredibly useful tool that helps with a range of issues, from anxiety to sleep to relationships to trauma. Research shows that its incredibly effective in helping people manage mental health conditions and experts say that its worth it even if you dont have a medical problem.
If you still need convincing, here are a few reasons why you should give the practice a try:
1. Youre experiencing unexpected mood swings.
If youre noticing youve taken on a more negative mood or thought process ? and its persistent ? it might be worth talking to someone. This is typically a sign of a mental health issue. A therapist can help you get to the root of the problem, according to clinical social worker Rachel Fogelberg, who works with the University of Michigans department of psychiatry.
You have the opportunity to open up about your thoughts, feelings and circumstances in a confidential environment, Fogelberg told The Huffington Post. Within the safety of this secure environment, individuals can feel comfortable to explore areas of themselves or their lives that they are struggling or unhappy with.
2. Youre undergoing a big change.
This could be a new career, a new family or moving to a different city. New ventures are challenging and its normal to need assistance with that.
You can work with someone with a neutral perspective to identify goals and to develop a plan to achieve them, Folgelberg said. Therapy often involves the development of skills and strategies to reduce or manage life stressors.
3. Youre having harmful thoughts.
Suicide and self-harm are completely preventable with treatment by a licensed professional. If youre thinking of hurting yourself immediately, seek help right away through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line. Text SOS to 741741
4. Youre withdrawing from things that used to bring you joy.
A loss of motivation could signal that something is up. If youre normally a social butterfly and youre suddenly pulling away from your weekly sports league, for example, you could be experiencing something deeper. A therapist is trained to help you uncover why this might occurring, Folgelberg explained.
The truth is, therapy can be very helpful for many people and often helps individuals sustain their mental health, she said.
5. Youre feeling isolated or alone.
Many people who deal with mental health issues feel like theyre singular in dealing with their experience, according to licensed master social worker Nancy McCorry, who works at the University of Michigans Addiction Treatment Services. Group therapy could help with this or even just having a medical professional recognizing the validity of your emotions.
When you enter therapy ... you get the immediate sense of relief that you are not alone, McCorry told HuffPost. Your problem is well understood and shared by others. This can bring about a sense of both comfort and hope.
6. Youre using a substance to cope with issues in your life.
If you find yourself turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with whats going on in your life, it might be time to reach out. Addiction and substance abuse are medical conditions ? not character flaws, McCorry stressed.
There have been many breakthroughs in our understanding of the biology of addiction and evidenced based treatment to assist people in achieving their treatment goals, she said. Going to therapy allows a person to gain the knowledge needed to fully address their illness.
7. You suspect you might have a serious mental health condition.
Serious mental illness affects almost 10 million adults in America in a given year. If youve been feeling off for a long period of time, reach out. Psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia rarely develop out of nowhere and people display signs for a while. Symptoms, particularly ones like severe nervousness, apathy or intrusive thoughts, should not be ignored. Theyre treatable.
8. You feel like youve lost control.
This particular feeling arises when people are dealing with a substance abuse or addiction issue, McCorry said. This lack of control often keeps individuals in the in a repetitive circle of substance use.
This can keep a person in the cycle of addiction ? using their substance in order to avoid painful feelings. Going to therapy can help to lift this heavy burden
9. Your relationships feel strained.
Relationships ? no matter what kind ? are hard work. Youre not expected to have all the answers. If youre with a partner, therapy can help the two of you explore better ways to communicate and any other issues that seem to pop up. Couples therapy can even be beneficial if your partner is hesitant and doesnt end up attending the session.
The therapist can pinpoint how to help the spouse interpret misunderstandings and identify where theyre most at odds, Debra Campbell, a psychologist and couples therapist in Melbourne, Australia, previously told HuffPost.
10. Your sleeping patterns are off.
A key symptom of depression includes a disruption in sleep, whether it be too little or too much. If youve noticed any significant change, it might be time to investigate the underlying issue (this even goes for insomnia, which also includes therapy as a method of treatment).
11. You just feel like you need to talk to someone.
Bottom line: Theres nothing wrong with seeking professional help for any health issue, including mental health. To put it as actress Kerry Washington once did, I go to the dentist. So why wouldnt I go to a shrink?
If you have an inclination that you
might need to speak with someone, do it. Therapy is a
perfectly normal ? and valuable ? experience that works to
many peoples benefit.
3 things mental
health professionals need to know about teletherapy
Rising healthcare costs, government-mandated access to healthcare, and a shortage of mental health professionals are driving demand for teletherapy. As a result, current trends suggest that virtual home, work or school visits will be routine in a few short years.
Read this eGuide and find out how you
can expand your availability and reach regardless of
geography making it easier to provide quality,
consistent care to your clients.
How To Encourage
Someone To See A Therapist
Here are some steps you can take to tell your loved one about the benefits of seeking therapy.
Misconception about mental health and therapy has intensified stigma in society. Your loved one may be aware that they need help, but may be afraid to seek it if they think you will judge or treat them differently. Therefore, it is essential to use non-stigmatizing language when talking with them about their mental health. Assure them that you will support them through the therapy process.
Demi Lovato is one of the most vocal celebrities about her mental health issues. She mentioned on multiple occasions how important it was for her to have people around that really care about her wellbeing. She credits her support group for being able to go through everyday life. Demi asks for advice from her loved ones and asks them to let her know when they feel somethings off: "So whether it's with my management team or with my friends, every choice that I make, I run by people. And that's what's really helped mevocalizing what you need."
Be Sensitive To Timing And Place
Talking to someone about mental health requires emotional sensitivity as well as physical sensitivity. The where and how the topic is presented may determine how a person reacts to your suggestions. Your loved one may not be as bold as Kesha when she shared her condition and struggles with the world while receiving an award.
Dont start this delicate conversation in front of other people or where others can hear as this may cause discomfort. And avoid grouping up in an intervention-style conversation as people do on TV shows. Allow the person struggling to decide whether they want others to know. This way, they feel respected and in control of their own treatment.
Also: Avoid talking to someone when they are in a bad mood, tired, have tight deadlines at work or if theyre doing something important. They may dismiss you or disregard the weight of the topic. Approach the person when theyre in a good mood, relaxed and undistracted. Try as much as possible to keep the conversation private, friendly and relaxed.
Prepare For Resistance
Not all people who hear about therapy will be willing to try it out. You need to be prepared to make your case if your loved one resists your suggestion. Here are some ideas that you can use to highlight the importance of therapy:
Offer To Help
You can try to embolden someone to go to therapy, but unless you are willing to offer meaningful support, its not going to encourage them. Some people do not know where to start when seeking help. Guide them in finding a suitable therapist in the area, depending on their preferences. You can contact offices on their behalf or research various professionals, their credibility and reviews.
Some people are scared of seeing a therapist alone or signing up for group therapy. Offer to go with them until theyre comfortable. You can sit in the waiting room during their first few sessions. Make sure to assure them that you wont ask prying questions about the counseling unless they want to share.
Seeking therapy is one of the best
steps that a person with a mental health condition can take.
However, its an effort that requires great strength
and courage. Share your suggestions as openly as possible
and leave them to make the decision that best suits their
needs. Above all things, assure them of your continued love
and support throughout the process.
support & online therapy
Choose your own listener
Want to connect with a listener based on life experience or affiliation? Browse or search our listener community to find the right listener or online counselor, someone with whom you feel comfortable chatting. Whether you want listening or online counseling about life, love, relationship problems, stress, depression help, or you just need to vent about your problems, we have an active listener or therapist for you to vent to via anonymous chat.
Get online therapy in your anonymous, private room
7 Cups respects your privacy. Our bridging technology connects you one-on-one to a listener or online therapist while remaining completely anonymous. Our friendly Noni bot will welcome you to your private room where you can get settled and learn a bit more about how you can feel better. Your listener will join you in just a few seconds for a confidential chat.
Connect & Talk to strangers
Learn & grow with the community. Chat with supportive people in group support rooms who have overcome similar challenges. Engage in guided discussions or lighthearted banter. Join conversations about issues and struggles that matter to you in our community forum. Follow positive, kind people you meet at 7 Cups and post about how you are taking care of yourself to your own support network.
Stay emotionally fit and grow with us
Make emotional wellness a daily habit by following your growth path. Reminders and progress along your path can help you get support from trained volunteer listeners and do simple activities on your own to relax, on a regular basis, giving you more control over your own well being.
What is a Growth Path?
Do you need help with your life? 7 Cups is an on-demand emotional health and well-being service. When you need to chat we connect you to a real listener or therapist when you want someone to talk to. When you may not feel ready to chat, you can try simple activities to help boost your mood. Whatever step you take first - chatting one-on-one, doing solo activities, watching short videos, reading self-help guides, forum posts, and uplifting feed posts, or participating in group discussions - starts you on a path that will encourage and support you as you take steps daily to become stronger.
There are many ways to receive support online -- therapy, counseling, coaching, and guidance are among them. New technologies, like those provided through 7 Cups, allow us to offer affordable, convenient, flexible, accessible counseling to fit your individual needs.
What is Online Therapy?
Online therapy is mental health counseling provided via the Internet. Sometimes it is called e-therapy, distance therapy, telehealth, or Internet therapy. Online therapy can be done by texting, video chatting, voice messaging or audio messaging with licensed therapists online.
What about Video Chat Therapy?
While video chat therapy does allow for more accessibility, it does not eliminate some of the key challenges that traditional therapy faces. More and more clients are now opting for message therapy as an even more convenient and affordable solution.
Consider how Online, Message-Based Psychotherapy has the ability to improve upon traditional office-based counseling services
Therapy Location Must find a local Counselor
or Therapist Can find an expert on your
issue, not necessarily based on
geography Accessibility Must meet in therapist or
counselors office Can connect with your
therapist from home, work, or wherever is
convenient for you. Availability Bound to the therapist or
counselors schedule, and often meet once per
week. Can chat with your therapist
anytime--when you truly need it--and, as often as
youd like. Affordability Often very expensive,
traditional therapy can be as much as $200 per
session, and upwards of $800/month. Significantly cheaper: you
pay as little as $37.50/week, or $150 for the whole
month of unlimited contact with your
therapist. Visibility Requires face to face
interaction, which can be challenging for some
people. Allows anonymity, and can be
accessed privately, without others knowing that you
are receiving therapy. Effectiveness Equally as effective, but
given that it is harder to access, and there are
more barriers, remaining consistently in treatment
can be challenging. Studies have demonstrated the
effectiveness of online therapy. It gives the added
bonus of allowing people to take their time to
explore their thoughts, and put them into
Must find a local Counselor or Therapist
Can find an expert on your issue, not necessarily based on geography
Must meet in therapist or counselors office
Can connect with your therapist from home, work, or wherever is convenient for you.
Bound to the therapist or counselors schedule, and often meet once per week.
Can chat with your therapist anytime--when you truly need it--and, as often as youd like.
Often very expensive, traditional therapy can be as much as $200 per session, and upwards of $800/month.
Significantly cheaper: you pay as little as $37.50/week, or $150 for the whole month of unlimited contact with your therapist.
Requires face to face interaction, which can be challenging for some people.
Allows anonymity, and can be accessed privately, without others knowing that you are receiving therapy.
Equally as effective, but given that it is harder to access, and there are more barriers, remaining consistently in treatment can be challenging.
Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of online therapy. It gives the added bonus of allowing people to take their time to explore their thoughts, and put them into words.
Why Clients & Therapists Often Prefer Text-Based Psychotherapy:
Who Talk to Themselves Arent Crazy, Theyre
Youre a genius.
I mean, this should be a no-brainer, right? After all, some of the smartest people in history talk to themselves: poets, writers, philosophers, every one! Even Einstein used to repeat his sentences to himself softly.
But now, we have proof. Proof, I say!
A study printed in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology claims that talking to yourself makes your brain work more efficiently. Authors Daniel Swingley and Gary Lupyan hypothesized that talking to yourself could actually be beneficial. Their first trial, in which they gave subjects an object to buy at the grocery store, seemed to prove their point. The people who were allowed to say the name of the item aloud were much more likely to find it than the ones bound to silence.
It turns out that talking out loud might not always be helpful, though.
Speaking to yourself isnt always helping if you dont really know what an object looks like, saying its name can have no effect, or actually slow you down. If, on the other hand, you know that bananas are yellow and have a particular shape, by saying banana youre activating these visual properties in the brain to help you find them.
Basically, if you know what an object looks like the banana, for instance then saying the word will help you find what youre looking for. But, if youve never seen a rutabaga, saying it out loud isnt going to be of any assistance at all.
Not that youd ever actually want to find a rutabaga, but in case you do, heres a picture.
It can be helpful for the indecisive scatterbrains among us.
Talking through things aloud can help organize your thoughts, as well as validate difficult decisions, according to psychologist Linda Sapadin
It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to whats important, and firm up any decisions youre contemplating.
I mean, basically, its best to talk the big decisions out even if its just with yourself.
Talking to yourself about your goals also helps you attain them.
It turns out saying your goals aloud is even better for achieving them than making a written list, which can seem daunting. As Sapadin says,
Saying your goals out loud focuses your attention, reinforces the message, controls your runaway emotions, and screens out distractions.
Its exactly what we
crazies who talk to ourselves have always known
were smart, and we give great advice. Why not
listen to it, out loud and wherever you want!
Using detailed Danish government health records, researchers studied 5,678 people who had attempted suicide and then received a program of short-term psychotherapy based on needs, including crisis intervention, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic and psychoanalytic treatment. They compared them with 17,034 people who had attempted suicide but received standard care, including admission to a hospital, referral for treatment or discharge with no referral. They were able to match the groups in more than 30 genetic, health, behavioral and socioeconomic characteristics. The study is online in Lancet Psychiatry.
Treatment focused on suicide prevention and comprised eight to 10 weeks of individual sessions.
Over a 20-year follow-up, 16.5 percent of the treated group attempted suicide again, compared with 19.1 percent of the untreated group. In the treated group, 1.6 percent died by suicide, compared with 2.2 percent of the untreated.
Suicide is a rare event, said the lead author, Annette Erlangsen, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and you need a huge sample to study it. We had that, and we were able to find a significant effect.
The authors estimate that therapy
prevented 145 suicide attempts and 30 deaths by suicide in
the group studied.
A: QUICK ANSWER
According to WebMD, finding a therapist can entail getting a therapy provider list from an insurance company and asking family or friends if they would trust someone on that list. Finding a therapist can also include contacting a local college or university's psychology or psychiatry department for recommendations.
The American Psychological Association also recommends consulting a local or state psychological association, a mental health center or a religious center such as a synagogue or church. WebMD notes that people who are currently in therapy, but plan to move, can ask their therapists for referrals to therapists who practice in the new location.
Questions can help narrow down the list of potential therapists, according to both WebMD and the APA. Questions include: How long has the therapist been in practice? What is his speciality? What does he charge, and what are his policies?
WebMD explains that during and after the first few appointments, people should ask themselves how they feel with the therapist. They should feel somewhat comfortable but not overly so because the purpose of therapy is not general gabbing. The therapist should ask patients what their ideal outcome is and how they see progress measured. For children who need therapy, pediatricians and other parents can offer good referrals.
Q: How Do You Find a Good Psychiatrist?
A: QUICK ANSWER
To find a good psychiatrist, ask for a referral or recommendation from your physician, check to see what specialists are covered under your insurance and ask your friends or family, according to Mayo Clinic. Another good option is to check with local mental health organizations.
Another recommendation for finding a good psychiatrist is by checking with a local teaching hospital, notes Psych Central. Many teaching hospitals offer low-cost or free psychiatric consultations. Not only can you get more information about the treatment you need, but they can provide you with a list of psychiatrists that can help you the most, including those that cater to the special area of psychiatry you need.
Good qualities to look for in a psychiatrist or other mental health provider are excellent training and education, proper licensing and plenty of experience, says Mayo Clinic. The person looking for a new psychiatrist looks at qualities such as the treatment approaches and philosophy of the mental health provider, her office hours and length of sessions, pricing and if she accepts insurance. Looking at her specialties, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, is also important. Red flags for psychiatrists include those that dont offer a consultation or take a long time responding to emails or phone calls.
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