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Four Ways Therapy Can Help You

Update Date: Aug 08, 2014 03:27 PM EDT

Mental illnesses have been stigmatized for decades. In order to attempt to break down these conceptions, experts have been working to increase awareness and education about these types of diseases. Recent campaigns and programs have been created to better reach people with mental illnesses and help them via treatments and therapy. However, since therapy is often viewed as a treatment option for people with mental health issues, people without these issues might forget that therapy in general can be helpful.

"We're social creatures, fundamentally, so talking to people can be a real source of support and help," Dr. David Spiegel, M.D., associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, said reported by HuffPost. "But it won't happen if you don't give it a try."

Here are four ways therapy can help you:

1. Better Control Over Emotions

Therapy can help with everyday problems or stressors. For people who have difficulties addressing their problems or coping with certain emotions could greatly benefit from talking to a stranger. Sometimes, people might not disclose all their feelings to friends or family members out of fear that they might be judged. A therapist's office can become that judge-free zone.

"Therapy can be an interpersonal laboratory," Spiegel added. "It's a way of working with cognition, emotion and interpersonal relationships in a way that helps you manage your emotions and learn to see it in a different perspective."

2. Accomplish Goals

Having a therapist or a life coach can help people accomplish their goals. These experts can help people devise a reasonable route to take in fulfilling these goals and challenge them to finish. They can also help people create achievable and reasonable goals. Furthermore, a 2007 study reported that people experience less stress when they have the support of others. Lower levels of stress can make people believe that they can accomplish their goals.

3. Find a Purpose

For some people, struggling to find a purpose in life can be stressful. Instead of going at it alone, people could benefit by attending therapy. During these sessions, the therapist can guide people into opening up about themselves and their struggles, which can help people better connect with themselves. Oftentimes, people might be in denial about their current state. By talking about issues that they have buried, people can start addressing these issues and set goals to overcome them.

4. Solve Problems

A therapist's job is to get people to think about their problems and find ways to fix them. For people who have difficulty identifying the real problems in their life, a therapist can help people prioritize. When people rank their problems and decide which ones they want to focus on, a therapist can help people create a plan or strategy.

"You learn about perspective on whatever the problem is you're struggling with," Spiegel explained. "You can see the problem without feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness even though the problem is still there. In that way, therapy can help you recontextualize the problem you're dealing with in order to make a strategy to help you move forward."

In order to optimize a session with a therapist, people must remember to be open and honest. People must also remember that therapy is not limited to people with mental health illnesses.

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