Therapy isn’t always about mental health

By Georgina Lavan 

TherapyPsychologists have an ongoing stigma associated with their line of work. Many people assume that seeing a psychologist is associated with mental health issues and signs of weakness. However, psychologists aim to provide preventative work, as well as support during times of crisis. Many clients seek out appointments as a way of improving professional and social aspects of their lives. You’d be surprised to know what areas a psychologist can help you with that are not mental health related – take a look:

Core beliefs are how we see ourselves, the people and the world around us. When life gets in the way, these core beliefs can get off track. Seeing a psychologist can help you realign your goals and values, helping you achieve your long term self.

Repressed emotions can take their toll when left for extensive periods of time. Having a psychologist unpack those unpleasant and difficult emotions can help you avoid any festering resentment and potential outbursts down the track.

Relationship issues can present themselves in many forms. Working with your partner through couples therapy to resolve conflict, explore difficult emotions and address areas of concern can help you translate these skills into life outside of therapy, creating a stronger bond between you and your partner.

Developing communication skills are important in both the work and home settings, and can be better managed when seeing a psychologist. Such examples include learning how to be assertive and say no to extra work loads in the office. At home, developing parenting skills for appropriate discipline methods and daily routines with children can be learnt in therapy.

Blended family issues have become more common as divorce rates rise and parents remarry. Difficulties with stepchildren, sibling rivalries and custody battles may require seeing a psychologist to overcome some of the difficulties that occur as families go through the transition of divorce and coming together with another family.

Physical symptoms such as sleep disturbance and pain management can be dealt with by a psychologist. Addressing internal distresses can assist in relieving somatic symptoms experienced by the body when it is under stress.

Living in the moment is important when we live in such a fast paced world. Developing mindfulness skills with a psychologist helps a client focus on the present and not on things they have little control over – the past and the future.

Life changes can present themselves at any age. Having a baby, going through a divorce, or entering retirement can result in loss of identity whilst going through change. A psychologist can help you find meaning in your life as you transition through challenging times.

Dealing with traumas such as a terminal illness or a relationship breakdown can impair your daily functioning and may require some additional support during vulnerable times. A psychologist can provide an objective and safe space for you to talk through the feelings you’ve experienced or are experiencing as a result of this.

Anger management issues can arise due to increased stress in our lives. Many of us react to these stressors through anger, most often towards those closest to us such as family and friends. Seeing a psychologist to cope with these emotions gives us the opportunity to explore our anger threshold, learn to recognise when we’re approaching boiling point, and what’s required to relieve these emotions before seeing red.

Supporting a family member through their trauma may require seeking a psychologist. Spouses, children and parents of family members with addiction, eating disorders and mood disorders may look at psychotherapy to help deal with the client’s symptoms, as well as any difficulties they may be experiencing with the family member.

Adjustment issues may arise when there is a lot of change going on in one’s life. Changing schools, buying a house, moving into a high demanding job and children moving out of home are just some of the major life stressors one can go through. Having the support of a psychologist to provide stability at a time where there is a lot of change going on can be useful.

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