I receive many phone calls and emails from people looking for counselling or therapy, and it’s very common for people say, “I’ve never seen a psychologist before and I don’t even know what to ask you.” In this article I hope to demystify the counselling process, and to explain some of the many benefits of receiving counselling from a psychologist.
Seeking Therapy is a Positive Sign
People often don’t want to admit that life is less than perfect, and often think they should be able to solve their problems on their own. The truth is that seeking help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Just imagine if you need some type of surgery, would you try to perform a surgical procedure on your own? Of course not! It is very common for people to come for therapy with more questions than answers, and counselling typically can offer answers, and can move people from confusion to clarity. Counselling offers insight, and helps people connect the pieces of their lives, resulting in greater happiness, peace, and contentment.
Better Physical and Emotional Health
There are strong ties between our physical and emotional health, as the two are intricately connected. Health psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on lifestyle. For example, sleep is the foundation of health and wellness, and many people suffer from insomnia. Psychologists can help identify ways of improving sleep patterns so we can live a life full of energy and enthusiasm. Other lifestyle factors can be assessed, such as diet and exercise. An interesting fact is that 95% of serotonin is made in our gut and not our brain (Myers, 2023). The importance of eating a healthy, whole, unprocessed diet is not only important for our physical health, but also our mental health. Also, regular physical activity and exercise is helpful and necessary for both our physical health and mental health. Psychologists can help assess your current lifestyle and can make suggestions to help you live your life to the fullest.
Many people attend counselling to help improve the health of their relationships. One of the most reliable predictors of happiness is the quality of our social relationships (Oppong, 2022). People and social interactions are the foundation of our lives, so ensuring we have positive, supportive and quality connections is a basic human need. Some people continue to make poor choices in relationships, or others may feel stuck in relationships that are not serving them. Gaining insight and understanding in terms of making better choices or improving our relationships can make a positive difference in our health and happiness.
At first glance, communication sounds like a very basic skill. After all, we learned to speak around the age of one to two years old. And we use verbal and written communication consistently every day for the rest of our lives. And yet communication is not as simple as we think it should be. Sometimes we regret things we’ve said, or maybe we say nothing at all because we just don’t know what to say. Psychologists are trained in communication skills, and we can help clients become confident and effective communicators too. This knowledge helps improve our ability to manage conversations, and can help us become more successful in life, both personally and professionally.
Increased Self-Confidence and Self-Acceptance
Are you your own worst critic? One hundred percent of the time I ask people this question, the answer is always a resounding “Yes!” It is so common for people to have a barrage of negative self-talk and thoughts of self-doubt. For many of us we have such a tirade of self-deprecating thoughts we are really unaware we are holding on to these beliefs. We typically call these “automatic thoughts”, because we have these thoughts so frequently they can fly under our radar screen of consciousness. Life is tough enough without being hard on ourselves. Learning ways to identify, question, and change our thought processes can be such a relief, and it can be the beginning of changing our lives for the best.
A Safe Place to Talk
We often have thoughts that spin around in our minds, and it is so common for people to overthink and over analyse. It’s typical to keep these thoughts to ourselves, as we may feel we will be judged by talking about our thoughts or feelings. Psychologists can provide a safe place to discuss difficult or embarrassing topics in an objective way. It can feel liberating to share these thoughts that may have been bottled up for years, and people can often feel a sense of being heard and understood for the first time. It can be a very powerful exercise to release and process many of these beliefs.
Finding Your Life Purpose
There is nothing better than living a life with purpose and passion. Many people come to counselling knowing they are not happy where they are at, and may be unsure of where they want to be. Or some people may know what they want in their lives; however fear may be holding them back from achieving their goals. Through examining our interests and values and embracing our goals, dreams and aspirations we can often find the courage and confidence to move forward in a positive and purposeful direction.
If you have questions about counselling, please call or email today!
Myers, A. (2023). Serotonin & the gut: The gut-brain axis. https://www.amymyersmd.com/article/serotonin-gut-health/
Oppong, T (2022). Good social relationships are the most consistent predictor of a happy life. http://ccare.stanford.edu/press_posts/good-social-relationships-are-the-most-consistent-predictor-of-a-happy-life/