As you begin to work on yourself, beginning to understand the underlying reasons for which you’re seeking help could be important. It would also be a good idea to understand what your existing support system looks like, and who that might include. Your friends, family, colleagues or other loved ones may be perceptive of your concerns and offer you a space to talk with them, or make it comfortable so that you are able to reach out to them when in need. In other instances, you may find yourself without adequate support – either with the feeling that your current support may not be able to help you, or if you feel mostly disadvantaged or isolated.
The therapeutic space is considered as distinct from the above scenarios, as this a professional space tailored to your needs. While in situations involving people you already know, the focus of the talk may shift as their needs may interact with yours – for instance, when the other person talks over you when *they* feel they have something helpful to say (coming from, say, a need to be more helpful to others). While what they share may actually be helpful, a therapist might be more likely to give you the space to finish the thought, and then some more space to first allow you to talk about whatever is coming up for you in the present time. Such a space may be more ‘open’, thus allowing you to become more aware of what you’re going through, what it means to you and what steps, if any, you might like to take to make things better for yourself.
It would be important to keep in mind that there are many different therapeutic approaches, and any one therapist may (after appropriate training and practice) may develop their own style of using and/or integrating various techniques and approaches to work with you on building a management plan best suited to your needs. You may wish to thus focus on what your needs are to understand what kind of therapy, and therapist, would be a good ‘fit’ for you. Even if you find yourself unable to be aware and focus on your needs, then trying to understand this inability better might be your foremost goal. using any number of approaches, and finding the right ‘fit’ with your therapist is important. Absolutely*, you could – do note that being in therapy is different from spaces you may share with yourself or your loved ones, in that it is meant so you can share whatever is coming up for you – even (and at times, especially) the seemingly ‘inappropriate’, the ‘abnormal’, or even the ‘ugly’ emotions or thoughts that might be difficult to bring up in a conversation otherwise, due to a pre-existing relationship. But that’s not all that it can be – you can also use it to acknowledge, or even celebrate different aspects of yourself as and when they come up for you.
When it comes to providing an understanding of therapy and how it applies to you, you will find us using the words ‘may’ and ‘could’ a lot. We do so for a reason: our articles are for informational purposes only, and are in no way meant as a substitute for an actual therapy session. We would like them to provide basic guidance to someone who wishes to understand how therapy generally works, from our own understanding, which may to a certain extent be dependent on the therapeutic approach we tend to follow. For the most optimum understanding of how therapy could work for you, we suggest that you schedule a session with a professional.
*Please keep in mind that therapy is a recommended treatment option for individuals living with mental illness, since symptoms can often lack improvement, worsen or become chronic problems without adequate treatment. With or without a diagnosis, if you feel that the therapeutic space described above would help you in anyway, do not hesitate to reach out. It may also help you to know that we often provide an option of taking a pro-bono (free) consultation as your first session with us, and you can know more about how to book this consultation here.
This article was written by a mental health professional. But we were humans long before we trained as professionals, and so are always looking to learn better! If you found that any of the above is inaccurate, irrelevant or unhelpful, or would like to suggest ways to make this article more helpful in any way, please let us know in the comments below.
Read the article, and wondering what’s next ?
- I want to take action now: If reading the above information has led you to decide that what you need is professional help, here’s a little bit about how our professionals work in case you would like to schedule a free consultation with us: our professionals’ work is based on a ‘recovery-oriented’ model, which believes in providing a space where each individual feels in charge of their own meaning of recovery from mental health concerns/illness. The aim of support isn’t just to reduce symptoms or to go back to the level of functioning that was, but rather to learn to emphasize one’s resilience and to hold space for those in distress as one is attempting to achieve short- and long-term recovery/life goals
- If you wish to know more about Therapy, please go through these FAQs; you could also look up articles on our blog
- I want more help about how to broach the topic of my mental health with friend/loved one as/before I book a session