At some time in our lives, each of us may feel overwhelmed and may need help dealing with life's challenges. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 30 million Americans need help dealing with feelings and issues that seem beyond their control--problems with a marriage or relationship, a family situation, job loss, depression, stress, burnout, substance abuse, or death of a loved one. The losses and stresses of daily living can at times be significantly debilitating.
At times we need outside help from a trained, licensed professional in order to work through these problems. Through counseling, counselors help millions of Americans of all ages lead healthier, more productive lives.
Students should consider therapy if...
- They feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness and their problems do not seem to get better despite their efforts and help from family and friends.
- They are finding it difficult to carry out everyday activities. For example, they are unable to concentrate on assignments at work or school, and their job or class performance is suffering as a result.
- They worry excessively, expect the worst, or are constantly on edge.
- Their actions are harmful to themselves or to others. For instance, they are drinking too much alcohol, abusing drugs, or becoming overly argumentative and aggressive.
Psychotherapy is a collaborative effort between an individual and the therapist. It provides a supportive environment to talk openly and confidentially about concerns and feelings. Therapists consider maintaining your confidentiality extremely important and will answer your questions regarding those rare circumstances when confidential information is shared.
Will psychotherapy help me?
According to a research summary from the Stanford University School of Medicine, some forms of psychotherapy can effectively decrease patients' depression, anxiety, and related symptoms--such as pain, fatigue, and nausea. Research increasingly supports the idea that emotional and physical health are closely linked and that psychotherapy can improve a person's overall health. There is convincing evidence that most people who have at least several sessions of psychotherapy are far better off than individuals with emotional difficulties who are untreated. One major study showed that 50% of patients noticeably improved after eight sessions, while 75% of individuals improved by the end of 6 months.
How will I know if the therapy is working?
As you begin therapy, you should establish clear goals with your therapist. You might be trying to overcome feelings of hopelessness associated with depression or control a fear that is disrupting your daily life. Remember, certain goals require more time to reach than others. People often feel a wide variety of emotions during psychotherapy. Some qualms about therapy that people may have result from their having difficulty discussing painful and troubling experiences. When you begin to feel relief or hope, it can actually be a positive sign indicating that you are starting to explore your thoughts and behavior.
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