Is Therapy Right For Me?
Young, old, and anywhere in between — caring for your mental health is important. Just as you would see a cardiologist for a heart issue, or an orthopedist for knee pain, a therapist can provide guidance for your mental health.
You don’t need to consider your mental health challenges “serious” to seek out a therapist. Some people pursue therapy to help manage a diagnosed mental illness, while others visit a therapist simply to have someone listen and provide guidance and support in a judgment-free setting.
Can therapy help me?
To start, it may be helpful to self-examine your mental well-being. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a helpful list of the most common indications that therapy may help, including:
- Experiencing ongoing conflict with family or friends, or feeling isolated or alone
- Having trouble focusing on work, school, or other daily tasks
- Using a substance to cope with issues in your life
- Thinking about harming yourself or others
Connecting with a therapist may help sort through circumstances, including:
- Being in a relationship (with your partner, a family member, or a friend) that has hit a rough patch
- Coping with anxiety or depression
- Needing more confidence in your professional or personal life
- Wanting a set time to finally think about your own needs and goals
- Needing someone to listen objectively as you struggle with a difficult decision
If you’ve been to a therapist before but did not achieve the desired results, don’t feel discouraged. The relationship between you and your therapist is a deeply personal one, and you need to find a therapist who is most compatible with you. It may take a few tries to find the best fit.
What kind of therapist might be right for me?
Therapy can help you learn about yourself, provide an outlet to express and explore challenges, or help you identify healthy ways to cope with a mental illness. If you feel that therapy may be right for you, there are a few types of professionals to keep in mind (NAMI also offers a thorough list of mental health care professionals for reference):
- Psychiatrists – licensed medical doctors who can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and monitor medications, and provide therapy
- Psychologists – trained to evaluate a person’s mental health using clinical interviews and psychological evaluations and testing; they work with other providers who can prescribe medication
- Clinical Social Workers – client advocates who can make assessments and diagnoses, and serve as case managers to help navigate the health care system, working with other providers who can prescribe medication
- Counselors/Clinicians – masters-level health care professionals trained to evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs; they work with other providers who can prescribe medication
As you think about which type of professional might be right for you, take into consideration the mental health challenges you’re currently experiencing, and your goals for improved overall wellness.
If you decide that therapy doesn’t seem right for you, there are other options to explore. Your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) benefits may offer access to online self-guided programs, such as Learn to Live®´, to help with mild to moderate anxiety, depression, insomnia, or substance use and improve overall emotional health. Check MyBlue to see if your plan offers access to the tool. Blue Cross wellness and holistic options can also provide benefits for mental and overall well-being.
Also, keep in mind that there’s a direct connection between mental health and physical well-being. Regular exercise often helps boost our mood and energy levels.
Prioritizing Improved Mental Health
Improving your mental health is a lifelong journey that requires daily care, and it’s always okay to seek support if you need it. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Informing yourself about therapy and its benefits will help you make the right decision for you and your mental health.