Have you found yourself toying with the idea of mental health counseling? Maybe your life just isn’t as fulfilling as it once was and you can’t quite figure out why. You’ve found yourself depressed or overly anxious and you’re just not sure what to do next. Perhaps your marriage is struggling. You’ve never had therapy before, or perhaps your previous therapy wasn’t all that great. You may find yourself vacillating between continuing to struggle to get through the day or getting help. At Legacy Counseling Service we can relate. We counsel kids, teens, and adults from the Broken Arrow and Tulsa area who are struggling with a variety of mental health problems; we know that starting counseling can be scary. The article below can help. In it, we talk about 3 things about counseling you should consider.
- Ask for Help
Asking for help for a mental health concern may be the hardest part of the process. You’ve tried to pull yourself together, tried to get a handle on your emotions and just can’t seem to do it. It may be time to ask for help. Do your homework. Research the web for a licensed mental health professional. Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com) is an excellent referral site. There are a lot of mental health therapists out there and each one comes with his/her own set of skills, licenses, and certifications. Clinical psychologists are doctorate level therapists who work with individuals and groups. Often they will focus on a specific area of treatment. For instance, Dr. Melissa Leedy, Ph.D. of Legacy Counseling Service provides therapy to improve insomnia, and help people adjust to chronic pain and chronic illness. LMFTs are licensed marriage and family therapists who are trained to work with family units or with individuals who have marriage and/or family issues to address. LSWs are licensed social workers. They often work with individuals and groups but offer further assistance through case management and advocacy. LPCs are licensed professional counselors. They use a variety of evidence based methods to counsel individuals and groups. LMFTs, LSWs and LPCs all have master-level degrees from accredited graduate programs. Finding the right mental health provide is key to therapy being successful. You can also talk with family or friends for anyone they know who is a licensed therapist or who they have seen for counseling. And remember, not all mental health professionals work best with all problems. Some therapists really excel at helping teens or children, while others counsel depressed adults best, and still others treat couples who are struggling due to alcohol abuse.
Once you have found a counselor who you think will be a good fit, then call the office. Talk with the receptionist or the therapist directly and see if your initial contact gives you a feeling of confidence and connection to the therapist you are considering. Remember, you can always ask for a referral to another therapist if you begin working with one therapist and it just isn’t working out. The most important thing about therapy is: ask for help and find a therapy who you feel connected to.
- Believe in the Process
For therapy to work, you must believe in the process. Therapy takes work and you need to go into therapy with an attitude that says, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” You must be willing to open up and then to work hard. The benefit of therapy often comes in between sessions when you have the chance to apply what you learned in session. Therapy can get uncomfortable, especially when the issues bring a lot of negative emotions to the surface. But, that is part of the process. Identifying the issues, addressing any unhelpful thought patterns and finding new ways to address those issues in a more positive way are all part of the therapeutic session. There will be a lot of conversation in the therapy session. It will be an opportunity for you to say anything you feel, knowing that the person in front of you is professionally trained to guide and help you find answers to issues at hand. Therapy is much like a classroom. You are the student and the therapist or “teacher” guides the lesson. Let’s say you are struggling with anger. The therapist helps you figure out the very basis of the problem which might be a deep hurt from years ago. He/she then teaches you about anger, how it works, where it comes from, how to prevent it and how to overcome it. The therapist teaches calming techniques and other skills that can help you manage your anger and live a more fulfilling life. Unlike the classroom, the therapist/teacher is not just a lecturer. Therapy works best when the client and the therapist work together to identify issues and discover answers for dealing with those issues. The process works. Believe it.
- Celebrate the Victory
Sometimes therapy is quite short. For some, just getting those emotions out, understanding the basis for those emotions and learning some coping skills is all that is needed. Victory! For others, though, therapy is lengthy and painful. Traumatic experiences often leave a deep wound which takes time to heal. Insecurities and self-doubt will delay success. But, when victory comes, what a celebration! As the client you begin to feel like life is worth living to the fullest and now you have skills to help you with difficult situations in the future. And, as a therapist, the end of therapy reminds us that we have been blessed to be a part of the process. Celebrate the victory! Even if the celebrations are small victories along the way, celebrate!
If you are ready to begin counseling to help overcome your struggles or mental health disorders, then visit our website at http://legacycounselingservice.com to learn more about our licensed mental health providers and our values. We counsel children, teens, and adults who are struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and past hurts.