It should come as no surprise that therapy can be invaluable to someone who is in the midst of crisis. When they are experiencing such tremendous pain, exhaustion, and emotional overload, that those around them become concerned for their overall safety and wellbeing. During these times, it is essential to pick up the phone and start to do the work.
What may not be as apparent, is that therapy can be even more life altering and impactful during the good times too. Because the truth of the matter is that life happens, and crisis is inevitable. But if our foundation is strong, we can endure any storm.
That foundation is built during times in which life is status quo. When we are not otherwise consumed by debilitating fears, anxieties or sadness. When we are most capable of facing our truths and reflecting on who we are and who we want to become.
What benefits does therapy provide during times of stability?
1. It helps you to understand how the experiences in your life have impacted the person you are today
It can be difficult to take an objective look at yourself and to fully understand how the experiences in your life have shaped your values, beliefs and behaviors. Most times, we look back at events that have occurred and make the assumption that if we survived them, then we must be “okay.” But the truth of the matter is that each experience in our lives impacts us in some way ; the dynamics within our family of origin, the residual effect of significant life transitions, grief and loss. They all play a role in how we perceive ourselves and the way we engage with others. Therapy provides us an opportunity to understand this connection and how to utilize this knowledge to make healthy and appropriate changes in our lives.
2. Therapy provides an opportunity to process life events in a safe and neutral environment
Each day, life throws an innumerable amount of stressors our way. Although many of us are fortunate enough to have friends and family that we can turn to when we need assistance, most conversations with our support network tend to not remain objective. This is not to say that these individuals don’t have our best interest at heart, but rather that in most conversations, people come with their own preconceived notions, beliefs and perspectives. The dialogue is just that – a two way conversation. Therapy provides a confidential space for people to freely disclose what they are truly feeling. The focus remains on them and the situation they are enduring. The therapist has no connection to anyone in the individual’s life so they come to the interaction with no vested interest or judgment. They are simply there to be a sounding board; to guide the individual in processing their emotions and coming to their own resolution.
3. It helps to ensure that your toolbox is equipped to handle life’s adversities
Although many people seek therapy during times of adversity, it can actually be extremely beneficial in “preventing” crisis from occurring overall. Because the truth is that we don’t simply want to learn how to survive those times in which we feel like exploding. Rather, we want to learn how to protect ourselves from ever getting to that place to begin with. Therapy provides the opportunity to do just that – to take a deeper look into an individual’s toolbox (the basic essentials), and ensure that they are as strong and consistently utilized as possible. This includes but is not limited to: diet, exercise, self care, mindfulness practices, religious connections, social & familial networks. These elements, when appropriately implemented into our daily routine, can create a protective armor against the uncertainties and stressors that life that can throw our way.
4. Therapy helps make the good in life even better
Life is good, so what has to change? The purpose behind therapy is to ensure that all aspects of oneself are functioning at optimal level. So yes, all can be going well in your life. But with a little self reflection, understanding and modification, it can become great. Are there times in which your communication is not always as effective as you would like for it to be? Does conflict linger longer than it should? Is your relationship with your loved ones exactly what you want it to be? Through the utilization of talk therapy, an individual becomes more aware and intentional of the positive thoughts and behaviors that result in stronger, more authentic connections to themselves and others.
5. Beginning therapy establishes a long term relationship
From the moment we are born, we establish a relationship with a medical professional. This individual becomes someone we rely on for assistance through all of our medical needs. Our visits to their office are preventative in nature and work to establish a baseline in regards to our overall physical health and wellness. Even without reason for concern, we schedule annual appointments to ensure that our bodies are working at the optimal level of functioning. During times in which our health is jeopardized, that professional becomes someone we can rely on for guidance because not only are they familiar with us, we are familiar with them and confidently trust in their medical advice. Mental healthcare should operate in similar fashion. During times in which we are clear headed and stabilized, we should find a professional to connect with – to disclose personal information to in order to provide them with a comprehensive baseline of our psychological functioning. Then, during times of adversity, we already have someone well versed in our background that can be there to assist in real time. There is no urgency to find an appropriate and available healthcare professional and provide them with all the significant details of our lives before dealing with the crisis at hand.
Therapy is an invaluable experience that should be regarded in a positive light. Seeking assistance and establishing a relationship with a mental healthcare provider during times of stability can be life altering in ensuring preventative care as well as continued self awareness, improvement and growth.