When life is challenging, we reflexively ask ourselves, “How can I feel better — fast?” At Talkspace many people connect with one of our therapists when they are going through a crisis and need someone to throw them a line. To offer some collective therapeutic wisdom, we asked therapists which pieces of advice they tend to give to clients who are going through a rough time.
Sometimes suffering gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, other people, and the world. That knowledge will ultimately help you make better choices and perhaps avoid situations that cause stress or heartbreak.
“When you know better, you do better,” said Talkspace therapist Chandricka Mose. “Look at the experience and take away the lesson you were meant to learn.”
Talkspace therapist Kellie Mildenberger further explained how to make the most of tough times.
“In trying to help clients feel better about changes in life like jobs or relationships ending or other situations, I reframe and try to help the client see the opportunity in the change, accept and let go,” she said.
On Losing a Loved One
When you lose someone you loved, it can feel like losing a part of yourself. It can be difficult to fill that void and cope with grief.
“Because your loved one is physically gone doesn’t mean the relationship has to end. Find a way to celebrate their memory by doing a balloon release, writing a letter, visiting a place you both enjoyed. Be creative and make it meaningful to both of you.” – Alyssa Lentz, Talkspace Therapist
“I typically encourage clients to exercise and eat healthy first and foremost. I also encourage journaling their feelings about the loss. I encourage social activities, getting back into things they were passionate about: a hobby, talent, or skill.” – Kristen Caldwell, Talkspace Therapist
On Going Through a Breakup
When a romantic relationship ends, it can feel like your ex took a part of your self-worth. This can lead to depression, in addition to feelings of grief from losing the relationship. To keep your mental health intact, you will need to go out of your way to be positive.
“I stress the importance of positive self-talk — breaking away from the negative thinking: ‘You left me. I’m not worthy of being loved. I’m worthless. Why can’t I get over it as easy as he/she did?,’ etc. I ask them to tell themselves they are doing the very best they can with where they are right now.” – Kristen Caldwell, Talkspace Therapist
On Losing Your Job
Getting laid off or fired is stressful and can damage your self-esteem. Even our CEO struggled to take care of his mental health after his old company abruptly fired him. Talkspace therapist Melissa Moreno offered some tips to cope with unemployment and bounce back as quickly as possible:
Stay Positive — While it can be emotionally taxing to lose a job, it is not good to dwell on that hardship or “badmouth” a previous employer. Remain focused on the task at hand: finding a new position.
Update your resume — 1-2 page max for resume, focus on your strengths, add color (heading, name), include data (increased sales by 50%). There are many websites and articles about how to update a resume and what employers are looking for in a resume.
Remarket Yourself — Take a class or explore a trade or field of interest. Sometimes difficult situations are actually opportunities to learn and grow. Although we may not have chosen to leave our job, it has ended and it is our responsibility to figure out the next step.
Network — Staying connected to others is important and can lead to a job. Such things as volunteering, reaching out to colleges or past employers may give you information about a job opening you weren’t otherwise aware of.
Cut Back — Evaluate how and where you are spending money. Cut back on the things you don’t need (ordering out, extra TV channels, laundry services). There are many areas we are able to save money. The first step is evaluating the spending.
Therapy Is Actually More Than a Place to Feel Better
Many people start therapy when they are going through a tough time and want to feel better. That’s a big part of what therapy provides, but it goes far beyond that. If you want to get the most out of working with a therapist, getting through the worst of the pain is only the starting point.
By continuing treatment past the crisis, you can develop coping skills to make future challenges less painful. Therapy is an opportunity to become a better version of yourself and discover new ways to live a happier life.
Read about how Talkspace received more funding to help its clients.