Start the Year off Right: Why Everyone Should See a Licensed Mental Health Counselor

teen girl on counseling

This year, approximately 43.8 million people will experience a mental illness. That's one in five adults in the US.

9.8 million or 1 in 25 adults will experience a serious mental illness this year limiting or interfering with their major life activities.

But even if you aren't having a mental health crisis, it's a good idea to start seeing a licensed mental health counselor. There are myriad benefits to therapy.

If you've been toying with the idea of seeing a therapist, keep reading. We're sharing with you what you can expect when you seek out mental health help. If your life is too busy to get to a therapy office, you can even talk to a therapist online.

A Licensed Mental Health Counselor Helps You Create and Reach Your Goals

Many people start off the New Year with resolutions. But by the second week in February, 80% of us have given up on our resolutions.

Therapy helps you create realistic goals and actually achieve them. And you don't have to do it alone.

Therapy allows you to recognize barriers which hold you back and helps you overcome your challenges so you realize your dreams. And you're being held accountable from someone whose entire job is to not let you off the hook.

Therapists Provide Emotional Support

It's recommended adults see their primary physician once a year to get a checkup. This doesn't mean the person is necessarily sick. But it's a good way to ward off any potential dangers.

Just because your life is going well, it doesn't mean you can't still benefit from therapy. Talking with a mental health professional means you have a support system if something does go wrong.

And you're learning skills and tools to help you navigate problems and stressors that unexpectedly show up in life. Using therapy as a preventative measure helps ensure your life continues to go well.

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Build Up Your Resilience

There's an incorrect stigma about receiving therapy that needs clearing up. Therapy is not for the weak.

Therapy is for strong people who wish to become even stronger. By tackling your issues when they begin rather than waiting until they become so large they seem insurmountable, you make things easier on yourself.

And as you tackle issues and conquer them, your confidence grows. Having someone supporting and guiding you along the way helps you build resistance to stress and negative emotions.

Whether you're tackling a big change or a small one, therapy brings you peace of mind while dealing with your hardships. As you begin feeling less burdened and more emboldened to handle problems, life seems more manageable.

Dealing With Negative Emotions is Much Easier

Negative emotions are not only harmful to your mental health but your physical health as well. While getting therapy won't completely erase every negative thought you have, it will help you deal with them in a healthier way.

The world is imperfect. Problems are always coming up and it doesn't matter how rich, beautiful, or happy you are. And it really doesn't matter if it's a severe issue such as a divorce or illness or your best friend suddenly stopped speaking to you.

How You Respond Makes All the Difference

It's about the response you have to the hard times that pop in your life. Having a skill set and tools to handle problems and the negative emotions associated with the issue helps you create a healthier way of living.

Having more control over your emotions will help you make smarter, healthier decisions about how to handle tough situations. You'll also feel less overwhelmed and it's easier to make decisions when you're not stuck in fear and overwhelm.

Everyone can use a little help and support to help them handle life's little complications. In a therapy session, you'll receive feedback on your emotions from a licensed professional's perspective.

What is a Shrink?

Part of the problem when seeking out therapy is that few people understand what therapy entails. Many people also don't understand the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and other mental health practitioners.

Psychiatrists

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. Psychiatrists specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illnesses.

Their training begins with four years of medical school. They then have a one-year internship followed by at least three years of specialized training.

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Psychiatrists help differentiate true mental health problems from what could potentially be an underlying physical medical condition instead. They monitor the effects mental illness has on other physical conditions. Psychiatrists can also prescribe medications to their patients.

Psychologists

What do psychologists do that's different from a psychiatrist? For one, psychologists have doctoral rather than medical degrees.

They study the mind and behaviors. Psychologists go to graduate school, then complete a two to three-year internship followed by further training in treatment methods, behavioral therapy, and psychological theory.

While psychologists provide counseling and psychotherapy, they cannot, in most states, prescribe medicine or perform medical procedures.

Other Types of Therapists

There are also other types of therapists such as clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, licensed professional counselors, and more. Some only focus on adults while others focus solely on working with children.

Check out this service if you're looking for a therapist to work with your child. It's also important to take some time to determine what type of help would benefit you most.

How to Find a Therapist

Take a look at the various professionals available and find one that will most likely fit your personality best. And if you don't like the therapist you have, keep looking until you find one you feel comfortable working with.

Try Googling "clinical psychologist near me" or whatever keywords make the most sense. You can also contact your health insurance company for a referral or ask a friend.

You can also find therapists available online, often at discounted prices for those whose insurance and/or budgets won't allow for other types of therapy.

Keep Learning How to Make Life Better

Even if you choose to start seeing a licensed mental health counselor, that doesn't mean you can't learn other tools and skills elsewhere.

I've dedicated my blog to making life better in different ways. Click here to learn how to make your week a little easier.

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