It’s no secret that the past few years have been trying—and even that is an understatement. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing gun violence, unsettling political events, and painful racial inequities in view, it’s no wonder America’s collective mental health has suffered. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in four adults sought mental health treatment in the year 2021.
Another study, published by SWNS on behalf of Vida Health, found that many Americans just began therapy after the pandemic began. Specifically, more than one in six Americans started therapy for the first time in 2020, joining the one in three adults who were already seeing a therapist.
This is all to say that, if you feel you are struggling at all with your mental health, you are not alone. Thousands of people are attending therapy every day. Many of these people are battling a mental health disorder, but not all. Some may be experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other conditions that warrant professional help. Some are simply going through a hard time, and someone to talk to. Some just recognize the benefits of therapy and meeting with a third-party professional.
There are many reasons to go to therapy, and they don’t put anyone in a single box. Everyone can benefit from therapy in some way, no matter their age, background, upbringing, socioeconomic rank, mental health status, or current life circumstances.
You may find that therapy offers many benefits to you.
Of course, there still exists a stigma around mental health treatment and therapy. Despite the increasing number of people seeking out therapeutic support, many people are hesitant to get started. Some feel it is a sign of weakness to ask for help; others feel their symptoms are not quite “bad enough.” In fact, according to a survey cited by Forbes, only one-quarter of adults have never seen a therapist in their lifetime. These individuals explained it’s because they don’t think their problems are “big enough,” or believe that they can “handle their problems on their own.”
Maybe you have had similar thoughts. You may feel that your problems or symptoms are not severe, or that, as you’ve done in the past, you can cope with them to an extent. Now, however, you might be considering alternative options—perhaps your friends are attending therapy, and you’d like to give it a try. Or, you realize that your mental health is getting worse and are considering professional help.
Below are some of the most common benefits of therapy for mental health, some of which you may find surprising.
12 Surprising Benefits of Therapy for Your Mental Health
By attending regular therapy with a licensed professional, you can:
1. Develop coping skills for difficult times.
Therapy is designed to help foster coping skills, or healthy strategies to understand and handle difficult situations or symptoms. For example, if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, your therapist can help you find ways to cope and overcome those feelings. Therapy will teach you how to handle strong emotions like sadness, grief, fear, or anger in a healthy and productive way. Everyone copes differently. Your therapist will help you identify strategies that work for you, whether it’s exercise, journaling, meditation, music, or another outlet.
2. Enhance your problem-solving skills, too.
In helping you work through difficult emotions and situations, therapy also helps to build your problem-solving skills. You and your therapist can work through problems together, discuss potential outcomes, and decide on a solution with which you’re comfortable. Therapy can also help improve your conflict resolution abilities, allowing you to see problems with a clearer view.
3. Heal from pains of the past.
One of the goals of therapy is to understand the root of your symptoms. As you speak with a therapist, you may find yourself uncovering repressed emotions, memories, and traumas that continue to cause you pain. As you identify these pain points, you can learn to understand them, accept them, and overcome them.
4. Improve your relationships with others.
Whether you have had hiccups in your relationships, or have stayed away from relationships due to traumas of the past, therapy can help you work through it. A professional therapist can help you identify what is obstructing your relationship(s) and, over time, foster healthy and happy connections with those you love. This might mean rebuilding bridges or establishing entirely new relationships that were once outside your comfort zone.
5. Grow your self-love and confidence.
Therapy can also help to improve your relationship with yourself. Often, people who go to therapy do not feel fully in touch with who they are, what they are meant to do, or why they feel the way they do. A mental health counselor or therapist can help you to get more comfortable with yourself again, as you learn how to communicate and accept your feelings. In this way, therapy tends to lead to self-acceptance, identity-building, and increased self-esteem.
6. Improve your communication with others.
This is an underlying benefit of therapy that many forget about. As you speak with a therapist over the course of time, you will begin to develop a stronger ability to communicate your feelings, problems, perspectives, and memories. This will, in turn, carry through to other relationships and conversations you have down the road. For example, you may find that with therapy, you are better able to communicate with your loved ones and solve problems in a calm, collected manner.
7. Create positive changes in your life.
Many people go to therapy because they feel they need a change. Perhaps that is a change in their perspective, their relationships, their moods, their productivity, or their general health and wellbeing. A therapist is there to help you make those changes happen. If you are feeling like you’ve started to neglect your home, your hygiene, or your hobbies, for example—your therapist can help you take steps in improving and regaining your quality of life.
8. Determine your goals for the future.
This goes hand-in-hand with the above benefit of therapy: You can also use this as an opportunity to create goals. With a therapist, you can really sit down and think about what’s most important to you. What do you want to change in your life? What do you want to do better? Your therapist can work with you to develop goals for the future, and enact strategies that will help you achieve them.
9. Adapt to changes more easily.
Some changes are expected after going to therapy, such as shifts in your quality of life, as noted above. However, life will continue to throw unexpected changes your way—and some you may not welcome with open arms. Therapy will teach you how to cope with, and further adapt to, changes that may not have been easy for you in the past.
10. Increase your productivity.
Therapy is designed to help you overcome the negative aspects of your life, and to reduce the negative emotions that too often are holding you back. As you begin to move forward past your pains, and better cope with stress and emotion, you may find that you are becoming more productive in other aspects of your life. Many people attending therapy find that they feel more rejuvenated, which leads to more fulfillment in their personal and professional lives.
11. Improve your physical health.
Mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. When you treat and take care of your mental health, you may find that you start to feel better physically. Your sleep will get better, you may exercise more, and you may find that your physical appearance has improved. VeryWellHealth even reports that therapy can lead to lower blood pressure and a reduction in chronic pain.
12. Feel more empowered.
In combination with everything above, therapy can help you feel more empowered. Therapy leads to better health, higher productivity, increased self-esteem, healthy habits, improved mental function—and ultimately, all of these can bring you great feelings of empowerment. You may leave therapy feeling ready to take on the world. Or, you may find that this feeling takes time. The more you attend therapy, the more you will reap its many benefits.
Finding a Mental Health Therapy Program
Mental health care is health care. This means that taking care of your mental health is just as important of taking care of a sickness or injury. In order to feel like your best possible self, you must ensure you prioritize your mental wellbeing. Often, a therapist can help with this.
More and more people are seeking mental health care today. The American Psychological Association reports that 84 percent of psychologists have seen an increase in demand for anxiety treatment, and 72 percent reporting an increase in demand for the treatment of depression, in recent years.
If you are looking for a mental health therapist, now is the time to start your search. There are professionals available to you. The type of mental health treatment or therapy you pursue will depend on your individual needs. A great place to start is by speaking with your doctor, who can refer you to reputable mental health counselors and therapists.
You may also request a mental health screening or contact a mental health treatment provider, to start your journey. These resources can help you understand the extent of your condition, provide you peace of mind, and help you find a therapy program that meets your individual needs.
If you are unsure where to begin, but are interested in mental health therapy and support, you may always contact Turnbridge for a consultation. Turnbridge is a recognized mental health treatment facility for adolescents and young adults. We are here for you. Call 877-581-1793 today.