Why Everyone Can Benefit from Therapy
So often we think of therapy as only for people with mental health "issues" or "problems," for people with diagnosed mental illness. Yet many people who seek therapy do not have a diagnosis and wouldn't necessarily qualify for one. And many people could benefit from therapy even if they are not currently going to it. There's this podcast I like that's hosted by a life coach who always says that therapy can only do so much because it's just for talking and healing past wounds, not for behaviour change (clearly she's advocating for life coaching for the latter). However, my experience as a client and as a therapist is that it's for both. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT) which include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and more, there is an emphasis on behaviour as well. And so, many more people can benefit from it then they probably realize (also from other types of therapy; my experience is mainly in the realm of CBT-related approaches).
Here's a few ways that therapy may be beneficial for you:
It can help you with figuring out your life meaning, reaching self-actualization, and with self-development. Some of this is introspective work and some of it is behavioural. Personal growth is important to a lot of people and therapists are trained to help with these parts of life.
It can help you deal with stress. We all have stress in our lives. Some of it is more manageable than others. Have someone help us develop coping skills for managing stress, regardless of how much there is or how intense it is can be extremely beneficial (especially because a build of stress, particularly chronic stress, can lead to a variety of physical health issues).
It can help you with problem solving, in any life domain. Sometimes we need another person to bounce ideas around with, and having someone who is nonjudgmental and impartial has a lot of benefits over going to your family and friends who may be invested in the outcomes for different reasons.
Sometimes we need help in engaging in healthy behaviours, whether those be for our physical health, mental health, or both. Holistic health includes all aspects of our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual health. Many people benefit from having an accountability partner as well as learning coping skills to deal with thoughts and feelings that inevitably arise when making lifestyle changes.
Finally, many people experiencing anxiety and/or depression at some point in their lives. Having coping skills in advance can be helpful, and speaking to someone when these show up for you can also beneficial.
The biggest thing to remember is that pain is not a contest! It's not about "other people having it worse." Whatever you're having difficulty with, if it's difficult for you then that's where we start. Besides, if pain was a content, who would want to win?