To see a psychologist – necessity, fad or weakness?
Have you ever thought of seeing a psychologist is like seeing a doctor? Going to the psychotherapist is like going to the doctor. Even if sometimes we get a bit late to the doctor, something can still be done to change and improve our health. Just as we have physical conditions that we can treat with allopathic medicine, we have psychological conditions that a physiotherapist can treat together with us.
I recently read the opinion of a person who was giving advice to other people and saying that seeing a psychologist means weakness. That in fact everyone should stop complaining, man up and just get over everything. That everything relies on the will power and guts.
In reality things are not like this at all. Let’s compare seeing a psychologist and seeing a doctor. Let’s say your leg hurts and swells. In some days your leg is swollen and hurts, and in some other days your leg is a bit better. You do nothing, and after half a year you see no improvement, and even if your leg does not hurt, it is a lot more swollen and you can clearly see a difference between the healthy and the sick leg. Then you think maybe it is time to see a doctor.
So what if, in this moment when you think you should see a doctor, there is a thought in your mind that says “this is weakness”? Can’t you deal with it and heal on your own? Can’t you man up to get over it? What would it be like if you would not be able to receive the help you need because you would be seen as weird for wanting to cure your health problem?
This is exactly what happens to people who think about seeing a psychologist. You can’t just man up and make the emotional pain go away. Even if you don’t feel it anymore in a week, it had not disappeared. It’s still there and it’s driving, from the background, your behavior. Time does not actually heal anything. The need for psychotherapy is real. Read more about integrative psychotherapy.
What makes you decide when to see a psychologist?
It is great if we can monitor our mental state just as we observe our physical pain. It is very easy to identify a physical condition, but harder to grasp mental illness. Here’s how you can tell that you need professional assistance:
1. You feel you don’t function optimally in your life
The period you go through affects the quality of your life, work and relationships. The difficulty you have prevents you from achieving your goals or unfold the life the way you want to.
You feel helpless, sad, worried, you don’t leave the house, you have a bad opinion about yourself, you isolate yourself from others, you are anxious most of the time, you are afraid without reason, have reduced social contacts, feel that engaging in activities you liked in the past are now too much effort, are easily irritable, are tense or always tired, never get along with others, the couple relationship is not that good anymore.
2. All you tried so far to improve your emotional health had no result
Whether you’ve been reading personal development books or on the internet for self help materials, you did sport and spoke with the loved ones about your problems, none of this helped you to feel better.
3. You seek substance abuse because you think this makes problems go away
Unfortunately this is only an illusory belief because problems are still there when you get back to reality, right? Substance abuse dos not only maintain long term problems, but also amplifies them. We all wish to have a magic wand to make all our problems go away, but this is not possible in the real world we live in. What can we do in this world is to reach out for professional help when we need to in order to to feel better.
4. You’ve suffered a trauma or you’ve been through a traumatic event you don’t know how to overcome
Traumas and traumatic events are very painful and leave their mark deep into our soul. Examples of such trauma are: physical, sexual and emotional abuse, loss of goods, loss of our loved ones or our beloved pet.
You went through or go through a divorce or you just painfully ended a relationship. You had to interrupt pregnancy. You’re victim of bullying at school, at work or online. Have you been the victim of an accident.
Perhaps after those listed above, in a happy case, you think now that your condition is not as bad as those described above, and maybe right now is not the time to go in therapy. There is nothing wrong with that, actually it is great if you think that. But it is good to know that, just like a physical condition when the body needs medical treatment to heal or the disease progresses over time, emotional or mental problems can evolve if we don’t have enough resources to heal or we don’t pay attention to them.
Most often we seek friends or family for support when we need it.
So why go to a psychotherapist when there are friends?
It is true that our friends and family are our most accessible emotional support system. You can chose who you open up to and avoid the people who you think they might criticize you for your choices. They can help with tips along with a cup of coffee or when talking on the phone or while waiting for the elevator.
The difference is that psychotherapy is done in a special framework and the therapist will listen unconditionally, so don’t be afraid that you will be judged or criticized.In addition confidentiality is a golden rule. Another difference is that the therapist has a special setting ready and uses specific methods intentionally so that together you can find the best solutions and coping strategies to the problems that bother you.