In a previous post, I wrote about some of the lesser-known things psychologists can do as part of their scope of practice. In honor of Mental Health Month, I thought I would review some of the more traditional things we do. Most folks are at least somewhat familiar with what psychotherapy is, but what can you really expect to achieve/gain/learn if you decide to pursue therapy with a psychologist?
A New Perspective. One of the things I help clients with is gaining a new view or perspective on the situations in their lives. We all get stuck in ruts from time to time, and can begin to feel like we are “stuck” or have “no choice” but to do what we are doing, and often that translates to discomfort, anxiety, or unhappiness. A psychologist can help their clients identify different, previously un-thought-of choices and plans of action.
New Ways of Thinking About the World and Themselves. One of the things that psychologists (especially cognitive-behaviorally oriented psychologists) focus on is helping their clients challenge their long-held beliefs and thought patterns. Often learning to think about things in new, healthier ways can help lead to improved mental health.
New Ways of Behaving. When it comes to managing stress, anxiety, anger, and other emotions, some of us could use some new, healthier skills. Much of what psychologists do is teach their clients new coping strategies during difficult, stressful times in their lives.
A Place to Vent. While many of my clients use their sessions to learn new skills, some use their time with me to vent, complain, explain, and try to better understand their lives by using me as a sounding board.
I have heard people question the use of therapy, noting that a good friend is just as good. For some people this may be true, but for many of the folks I work with, they want a confidential, non-judgmental place to talk and learn strategies for achieving better mental health – and as great as friends are, most can’t offer that.
Photo by: jspad