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    I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?

    Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the courage to reach out are courageous. Everyone needs help now and then. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths and how to implement them to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing. 

    What will others think about me seeing a therapist?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental illness is among the most common health conditions in the United States.

    More than 50% of U.S. adults will need mental health treatment at some point during their lifetime. In addition, 1 in 25 are currently living with a serious mental illness, such as an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or major depression.

    A national survey estimates that 11.2% of all U.S. adults report regularly feeling some form of worry, nervousness, or anxiety, while 4.7% report frequently experiencing sadness or symptoms of depression.

    Given how common it is for people to experience a decline in mental health, the level of stigma that exists in society is surprising and often contradictory. 

    For example, one survey concluded that the majority of people in the U.S. believe in supporting those living with mental illness, so they can live normal lives with others who could help them recover.

    The respondents stated they do not support the idea of keeping those with a mental health condition out of society. The survey also suggests that generally, people do not believe that those living with mental illness are excessively dangerous or prone to violence.

    However, two-thirds of the survey respondents believed there was still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, while almost half said they would not welcome a mental health facility into their neighborhood. 

    Mental health stigma can come from stereotypes, which are simplified or generalized beliefs or representations of entire groups of people that are often inaccurate, negative, and offensive. They allow a person to make quick judgments about others based on a few defining characteristics, which they then apply to anyone in that group.

    For instance, people living with depression are often stereotyped as lazy, while some judge those with anxiety as cowardly.

    Many people fear being labeled “crazy” for simply seeking support from a therapist. None of these characterizations are valid, and all of them are misinformed, cause pain, and prevent people from getting the help they need.

    An often politicized stereotype about people with mental illness is that they are violent or dangerous. However, a small minority of people living with mental illness commit violent acts. They are actually 10 times more likely to be victims of a crime, making them a vulnerable population we should be protecting instead of fearing. 

    Public education to increase knowledge around mental illness is paramount, since the majority of stigma comes from a lack of understanding and misplaced fear.

    It is important to review reliable sources of information on mental health conditions and become better informed when learning that a friend, family member, or coworker is living with a mental illness. Please visit our Mental Health Links page for more information.

    What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?

    In any healthy friendship, both individuals are responsible for their respective growth and health. When the support of a friendship becomes too focused on one person, it can become lopsided leaving a person to feel indebted or even guilty. In therapy, the focus is solely on you. There is no need for an exchange of care as you are the only individual who is objectively seeking support. Freedom can be found in letting one’s self go from the unspoken social norm of keeping things even. In therapy, a person is afforded the luxury to dive into the details of their difficulties without fear of being overwhelming, feeling guilty, or uncomfortable. Having another person’s complete and consistent attention can therefore become reliable and unwavering, providing room for self-exploration and self-expression that may have not been previously available.

    Another detail about talking to a therapist that is different from talking to a friend is that of clinical expertise. Though friends often provide fantastic insights and can offer their own experiences to learn from, a therapist’s knowledge is grounded in research, education, and clinical awareness. This type of clinical attention allows a therapist to keep a watchful eye on an individual’s difficulties as they are aware of what constitutes an unhealthy habit or a faulty coping strategy. In more intensified circumstances, a therapist can also detect when a disorder is present and what type of treatment should be applied. Knowing that the person you’re confiding in has a clinical foundation to draw from can give you the trust and confidence that your care is professional and best-suited for your needs. It can also provide you with the reassurance that an expert is aware of your life’s struggles and has a multitude of research-backed methods to draw from which have been found to have effective and long-lasting results.

    Furthermore, counseling is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life. Everyone goes through difficult moments, and during those times, friends can be an essential source of support. But what happens when the difficulties repeat themselves and the problems become a little bigger? What happens when a person needs more than just a shoulder to cry on or some advice to help them through? For some of life’s difficulties, it is helpful to find support that goes a little deeper. In life, some stressors have patterns or repetitions that stay consistent across different circumstances. When it is time to dig into our own reactions and our role in the recurring problems we may come across, the advice from a friend can often fall short. Though a friend’s validation and comfort is helpful and even needed at times, it may not be enough to elicit a long-lasting change in one’s life.

    What is the difference between therapy and coaching?

    Mental health counseling focuses on observing and diagnosing pathology, addressing past trauma, treating addiction, adjustment, mood, personality, behavior and learning disorders, identifying and resolving family systems issues. Coaching relies on a level of client wellness and mental health symptom remission that allows for behavioral and goal-oriented action that is not rooted in the treatment of disorders. Coaching can also be more directive and less neutral than some forms of therapy. Therapy is often associated with having a “problem” and is not always attended nor appropriate for those who are wanting to excel and push themselves in particular life domains. This is where coaching can be the right fit.

    Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

    Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with counseling. Studies show that utilizing this multi-tiered approach is extremely effective. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals.

    How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?

    Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.

    How long will it take?

    Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.

    I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?

    I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success.

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