Mental Illness Awareness Week: The Benefits of a Mental Health Checkup

therapist giving mental health check up

October 10th is the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Day and all week long is recognized as Mental Illness Awareness Week. Geared toward raising awareness and improving access to mental health care, this day reminds us of the importance of mental health in our daily lives. Unfortunately, many of us don’t think about taking care of mental health until there’s a problem. Continue reading Mental Illness Awareness Week: The Benefits of a Mental Health Checkup

Is There A Link Between Trauma and Addiction?

woman holding a drink

Addiction is a complex process with numerous variables at play, but trauma may be one of the most important of those variables. By understanding the connection between trauma and addiction, problems can be better treated.

Unfortunately, the mental health field didn’t adequately recognize trauma’s impact on mental health until the last century. The problem drew more attention once mental health professionals saw more and more “shell shocked” soldiers after World Wars I and II.

Since then, we’ve come to understand that trauma isn’t limited to soldiers. Particularly in the last 30 years, we’ve learned that children of abuse or neglect, those who experience domestic violence, rape, and even random events such as car accidents can spark a similar patterns of mental health symptoms in people of all ages and backgrounds. Continue reading Is There A Link Between Trauma and Addiction?

Why Therapists Need Therapy Too

therapists office

Therapists have hard jobs. They hear about difficult, sometimes traumatic experiences each day, as their clients share their issues. They too occasionally have personal problems and things they would like to work through. You might wonder, however: Do therapists just know how to handle their issues, based on their training? It’s often said that everyone can benefit from therapy, but what about therapists?

Just because they’re trained, doesn’t mean therapists don’t sometimes need help themselves. In fact, the nature of their job places them at higher risk for emotional distress. In short, therapists often need just as much — if not more — support than the average person. Continue reading Why Therapists Need Therapy Too

What To Do if You Don’t Respect Your Therapist

man confronting woman

The beginning of therapy brings up complicated emotions. You might feel relieved that you’ve been able to unburden yourself, or even awe at the way your therapist “gets” you. Like every relationship, there is usually a honeymoon period, in which you admire and respect your therapist, confident in their ability to heal you.

Over time, however, the newness fades and the work gets harder. People often put their therapist on a pedestal at first, but the therapist is bound to fall eventually. For some people, adjusting to a more realistic view of the therapist is easy, but for others, resentment or lack of respect creep in. Continue reading What To Do if You Don’t Respect Your Therapist

Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Therapist

tall tree

In a therapeutic relationship — just like any other relationship — feelings shift over time. Sometimes in therapy, we feel bored or dissatisfied. When this happens, it’s hard to tell if we’ve just grown too familiar with our therapist or if it’s because this relationship isn’t a good fit anymore. But it’s an important question: what should you do if you suspect you’ve outgrown your therapist? Continue reading Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Therapist

Is Therapy Different From Advice?

woman giving advice

Why should you go to therapy? Why not just talk to friends or family when you have trouble? After all, therapy can be expensive or inconvenient, and frankly, it can just feel weird talking to a stranger about your problems.

Furthermore, how do you know if your problem is big enough to need therapy? Could it all be solved over dinner and wine with your best friend?

These are valid questions, and they all boil down to knowing how therapy and advice are different. Continue reading Is Therapy Different From Advice?

Pausing Therapy: Reasons Why and What You Should Consider

person pushing crosswalk sign that says wait

Therapy is hard work — sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Therefore, it can be tough to stop before you’re ready, but sometimes life happens that way. Your therapist understands that you’re busy and things come up when least expected. Fortunately, if you have to stop or pause therapy, there are ways to make the process less painful. Continue reading Pausing Therapy: Reasons Why and What You Should Consider

Essential Questions For Your Therapist That Go Unasked

man sitting with laptop and phone looking puzzled

Therapy creates funny feelings — you tell this person your most intimate thoughts and feelings, but when it comes to asking questions, you might feel nervous or intimidated. It can be tough not to put therapists on a pedestal or occasionally feel anxious with them.

However, therapy is a service you purchase; the therapeutic relationship is also a business relationship. As a customer, you have the right to ask questions about your service, just as you would if you were buying a car or hiring someone to fix your shower. Continue reading Essential Questions For Your Therapist That Go Unasked

When to Ditch a Toxic Friendship (According to a Therapist)

Two women in window

The notion of “toxic” people is popular these days, with most advice leaning toward cutting such people out of your life. In some situations, such as domestic violence, this should be the obvious choice. Friendships are a little different, however. It’s harder to know when you need to set limits.

Just like any other relationship, friendships require give and take. In addition, we have the idea that true friends stick together through thick and thin, so we you put up with foibles for the sake of the relationship. Sometimes, though, friendships are unhealthy. Continue reading When to Ditch a Toxic Friendship (According to a Therapist)

Is There a “Right Path” in Life?

Two paths diverging

It’s common to wonder about your life’s direction at certain ages, during adolescence or at mid-life, but honestly, these big questions are worth asking anytime.

We all want to find meaning and fulfillment, making the best use of our limited time on Earth. We often hear phrases such as “find your passion” or “do what you love,” which make it sound as if finding just the right thing to do in life will fix all of your other problems.

In addition, once we choose a path, we’re often afraid to break from that course, sticking with old routines and habits. We let our fear of the unknown keep us from new experiences. Consider, however, is it realistic to expect one interest or choice to sustain us for decades? Is there really only one path to take? Continue reading Is There a “Right Path” in Life?