Therapy can be viewed negatively. Some individuals believe that if they go to therapy, they will be stigmatized by others as being weak or having a mental health disorder that they should be ashamed of. Unfortunately, these misguided perspectives lack understanding of the fluid nature of mental health and the human condition. Everyone struggles at times to get out of bed in the morning. Some individuals face this problem more often than others, which is okay too.
Therapy is a form of treatment that most people would likely benefit from, whether they have a mental health disorder or not.
A Fluid Definition of Mental Health
Like many concepts in science, the definition of “mental health” is dynamic and evolving. Mental health is now thought of as “A dynamic state of internal equilibrium which enables individuals to use their abilities in harmony with universal values of society.”
Key components of mental health that contribute to one’s internal equilibrium include:
- Basic cognitive and social skills
- Ability to recognize, express, and modulate one’s emotions and empathize with others
- Flexibility and ability to cope with adverse life events and function in social roles
- A harmonious relationship between the body and mind
Why Does This Matter?
The transition toward a more flexible definition of mental health came about with the realization that mentally healthy individuals move through chapters of their lives that may provoke normal emotions such as fear, anxiety, and grief. In other words, you’re not always going to function well, which is okay.
Depending on what you’re going through — like confronting a significant change in your life — your emotional equilibrium may need to shift to a new normal: your new normal. This is called resilience, the ability to bounce back in a timely manner and recover to a level of functioning that works at this stage in your life.
Individual therapy can help aid the process of effectively responding and readjusting to life instead of reacting without intention and thought.
What Is Individual Therapy?
Individual therapy is conducted in one-on-one sessions with a licensed psychotherapist. There are different types of therapy that involve specific methods of treating mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. Individuals go to therapy to overcome challenges that compromise their quality of life. This can include reasons like a diagnosed mental health disorder, recovery from addiction, or stressful life circumstances.
Perhaps you are facing escalating conflicts with a family member and it has caused you to start drinking alcohol. Maybe you have anxious thoughts that affect your concentration and productivity at work. Therapy can help you develop skills to manage these issues so you can live your life with less disruption.
Sessions usually last about 45 to 60 minutes, and sometimes homework is given for clients to practice techniques and work through problems as they occur.
Types of Individual Therapy
The most common forms of individual therapy are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT). CBT focuses on replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones by identifying their connection to emotions and behaviors. Sometimes, a pessimistic or self-deprecating perspective creates the problem, not the actual events taking place.
DBT, on the other hand, is derived from CBT. It was originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) but has been found to be effective at treating other conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). DBT helps reconcile the rapidly shifting and polarizing emotions, like love and hate, that individuals with BPD and trauma can experience. With DBT, individuals learn how to effectively manage stress and emotional dysfunction and maintain healthy relationships.
Taking an Integrated Approach
It’s important to note that treatment facilities like West Coast Recovery Centers take an integrated approach to healing that recognizes the unique internal experiences of clients and the need for multiple pathways to recovery.
Clients are encouraged to seek meaning in their life, connect with their environment, and maximize their potential. This means that clients can choose to engage in other modalities, such as psychoeducation, creative expression therapy, family therapy, and mindfulness practices.
Why Should You Get a Therapist?
As noted earlier, people attend therapy for different reasons. Some mental health disorders that can benefit from individual therapy include:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Social anxiety
- Bipolar disorder
- Dysthymic disorder
- Generalized anxiety
- Major depressive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Individual therapy is also a pillar of addiction treatment programs to address motivations for addictive behavior such as chronic stress or depression. Addiction tends to co-occur with mental health disorders, either causing or being caused by the condition. Often, alcohol and other substances are used to cope with challenges instead of applying productive strategies like those taught in therapy.
Therapy Is for Everybody
Individual therapy can provide you with an opportunity to see things from a new perspective and develop skills to cope with strong emotions and interpersonal problems. Whatever you’re up against in your life, therapy can help you find steady ground and build resilience to future challenges.
Stigma still lingers around topics like attending therapy. However, there’s no reason to be ashamed of taking care of your mental and emotional well-being. Therapy is a way to get unbiased and professional guidance on the matter, whether you are healing from addiction or managing stress from a major life transition. West Coast Recovery Centers is a licensed outpatient treatment center in Oceanside, CA. Here, we recognize the fluid nature of the human condition. Sometimes, things happen that affect how you feel and act. Our clinical team has extensive training and experience in various fields, some of which are in addiction recovery themselves. Between our competent and compassionate team and our traditional and holistic services, we aim to create a space where clients from all walks of life will feel understood and taken care of. Call (760) 492-6509 to learn how therapy can improve your frame of mind.