Talk Therapy, a.k.a. Mental Health Counseling
Have you been referred for Mental Health Counseling? Are you offended, because it sounds like someone is saying you’re crazy? Well, I don’t blame you, but please don’t worry. Mental Health Counseling is simply the official title that the Florida Department of Health gives to talk therapy for classification and regulatory purposes. The wording does sound scary and institutional, I admit. However, it is not a very accurate or adequate description of what goes on in my office.
When you come to see me, I want you to feel at home. From the moment you walk through my door, I will do my best to help you feel safe and relaxed. There will be no pressure, no judgment. After all, you are entrusting me with your life story, or whichever parts of it that you choose. I know it may be intimidating to make that first appointment. However, if you are willing to give it a try, I think you’ll find that it can be the one hour of the week that you look forward to the most.
Talk therapy can serve many purposes. These are just a few:
1. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to bear witness to your struggles, someone who has no agenda and no biases. Having a person who is compassionate and present for you is substantially comforting and affirming. This simple, yet invaluable experience of having a true ally, can help you to begin to see yourself outside of your worries or conditions.
2. Having a thought partner can be helpful when going through a difficult time in life, such as a break up, the death of a loved one, or even a new medical diagnosis. A true thought partner helps you ask yourself the right questions to safely explore the themes that you’ve been so successfully (or more likely, unsuccessfully) avoiding for most of your adult life. They help you come up with a plan, a way forward. Being supportively curious, without judgment, is the thought partner’s super power. They can lead you to new heights of self-discovery and self-actualization, even in the middle of a seemingly disastrous situation.
3. We all have resentments and disappointments. They can build up over time. Venting these frustrations is essential to preventing them from negatively affecting our health and our relationships. It can be so very satisfying to get something off your chest, to unburden yourself. Feeling like you have been wronged or slighted can weigh heavy on your heart (especially when it is done by someone you love). Telling someone the depth of your sorrow can often release you from feeling trapped by it. Allowing yourself to let go and be real about the things you’ve been holding inside can bring you peace and relief, sometimes almost instantly.
4. Everybody needs to have a good set of positive coping skills that they can draw from when times get tough. My belief is that coping skills should be taught in pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school and college, just to be safe. Since that doesn’t happen, yet; talk therapy is your opportunity to acquire this vital skill set. While some people are naturally more resilient than others, we all could use training to maximize our ability to cope with stress, crisis, heartbreak, loss, etc.
5. Ok. This is probably my favorite one. Talk therapy gives you hope for the future. No matter what your circumstances, talk therapy will open you up to possibilities and remind you of your potential. It can absolutely put you on the path to a beautiful future of your own creation.
While, yes, it is possible to make it through difficult life situations on your own, who says you have to? If you already have great coping skills and a supportive network of family and friends, I am so happy for you. However, not everyone is so fortunate. Talking about your concerns with a trained professional can help you to re-conceptualize your life in a way that can lead to new ideas and solutions. Having someone on your side, who can see the real you and is absolutely invested in helping you achieve your greatest potential and well-being is the essence of talk therapy. At Bliss Healthcare Services, we want every one of our clients to have this advantage, call it what you will.