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5 Ways Psychotherapy Can Improve Your Life

February 27, 2013

There’s only 1 day left in February. Do you know what’s associated with this month? Let me give you some options. February is….

1) Black History Month
2) Heart and Stroke Awareness Month
3) Psychology Month
4) All of the above

If you chose #4, you’re right!

Given that I’m a psychologist myself, and that my blog is about psychology and psycho-social health topics, I thought I would use this post to essentially talk about what psychologists do, and how visiting a psychologist for psychotherapy can be beneficial to your life.

Why see a psychologist?

Here are a few reasons why I think it’s beneficial to see a psychologist.

1. You gain a deeper understanding of yourself. Working with a psychologist who specializes in psychotherapy (talk therapy) will, over time, help you to gain insight into your behaviours, thoughts, and feelings. By doing so, you become aware of the things you need to change in order to feel better about yourself and your life. Psychologists provide you with space and opportunity to analyze and understand yourself better. This kick-starts the process of change and personal growth.

2. You learn skills and strategies for coping with some of life’s challenges. When people come to see me for psychotherapy, I have two goals. My first goal is to help them gain insight into the causes of why they may be behaving, thinking, or feeling the way they are. My second goal is to help them find solutions for what they are currently dealing with. Through a collaborative process, the client explores different ways of thinking, perceiving, and responding to their current challenges.

3. You get an opportunity to vent. Let’s face it: our friends and family members do not always want to hear about our problems. In fact, our families and friends may be contributing to some of our problems! Having someone who is objective, who doesn’t know you or judge you, allows you to take a step back, reflect, and let go of some of the heavy things that you may be carrying.

4. You get an opportunity to work on your relationship skills. When you visit a therapist for an hour, you are essentially walking into a room with a stranger, and telling them things you may have never told anyone else before in your life. This is a deeply personal and emotionally intimate experience. For people who have issues with trust, or issues with being vulnerable in a relationship, or for those who have had difficulties being honest in a relationship, visiting a psychotherapist is a perfect opportunity for you to finally work through those issues. Just by the very nature of you attending your sessions and talking, you are already moving towards an improvement in your relationship skills.

5. You get an objective opinion of what is troubling you. When a friend comes to you for advice, have you ever noticed that it seems easier to see what’s happening in their life than in your own life? Even though you may be in the exact same situation as your friend, do you find it impossible to follow the same advice you give them? This is a universal phenomenon. Everyone goes through it. Talking to a psychologist gives you the opportunity to talk about what’s been troubling YOU, and to hear feedback from someone who is more objective than the friends and family members in your life.

I’d love to hear about some of your experiences of participating in psychotherapy. How did it help you? What was the experience like? What did you learn about yourself? 

Hoping the next few weeks are filled with much knowledge and growth…

Useful links: – The Canadian Psychological Association is a great resource for information about psychology and related topics. Check out their “Psychology Works” fact sheets under the “PUBLIC” tab. – The American Psychological Association is another great place to get up-to-date information on a variety of topics for everyday living. – More useful information on psychology and mind-body health.

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