Author - Sharon Uthappa
Image Credits - Pexels
Therapy focuses on mental health and mental well-being; a concept India is slowly waking up to. There are many discussions around the meaning of therapy, understanding what it might look like, and the big question- ‘would I need therapy?’ Let’s break this down!
Trained professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, or psychotherapists help people cope with life stressors and are qualified to address any mental health problems. Therapy or psychotherapy includes well-structured appointments between the client and a trained professional on vulnerable topics that cause emotional distress. These professionals are usually known as therapists or psychotherapists.
Therapy is helpful for an individual because it creates a safe space to express one’s innermost thoughts and feelings about an incident or event. A therapeutic, safe space is one with no bias, judgment, and no preconceived notion on how life should look like. A therapist is an impartial listener and, when appropriate, would give suggestions or make observations. Most importantly, a therapist can demonstrate healthy skills and techniques for a person to learn to better cope with their mental health.
Therapy is not only for those with mental illnesses but also for people in general when they feel sad, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, or irritable. Often, therapy can help individuals understand their feelings, why they feel them and help them cope with those feelings better. Therapy also helps with drug and alcohol addictions, relationships with food, relationship issues such as domestic and family violence, isolation, lack of sleep, and other healthy habits. Therapy helps to unpack and let go of the past, place a pause on the distant future, and help the person focus on the here-and-now (the present).
As with any new gadget/ electronics, you read the instructions before giving it a go! Same with therapy. If you have never had therapy before and would like to give it a try, then I have listed out what I’d like to call ‘red and green flags in therapy’. One may need to educate themselves with these before they book their first appointment. Every activity has its own ‘do’s and don’ts’ list; in therapy, it’s called ‘red flags’ and ‘green flags’.
The aim of a person’s therapeutic relationship with their therapist is centered on their healing. It is targeted around the pain they have been carrying to come to the surface and be released. Green flags are nothing but indicators allowed in a therapeutic setting- between the client and the therapist. These may include and not limited to-
As stated before, a therapeutic setting makes the individual feel safe and comfortable to process through their vulnerability. None of us are perfect, and even the best ethical and practical therapists have their not-so-great days. However, some therapists are not suited for the profession. They are unethical, unprofessional, and may lack the proper qualifications.
Below are some of the ‘red flags’ that should not be tolerated in a therapeutic setting. These may include and are not limited to -
Therapy needs to feel like a haven. There is no one-size-fits-all in therapy, which means individuals need to find a therapist who would be the best fit for them. Somebody can find the best therapist in their first attempt or somebody in their fifth, but one should settle only for the best!
Do your research; look for licensed experts who are well qualified in their field. Therapists also have areas that they specialize in; see if it matches your needs. Attending to your mental health is not selfish; it only means you are putting yourself first. Seeking help for your mental well-being is a BIG step forward, and we hope that you would find a great therapist who could help you in this journey. Here’s to you for being brave!