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The Mental Health Benefits of Individual Therapy

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Reports show that one in five Americans have a mental health condition. You are not alone.

Treatment options for those suffering from mental health issues continue to grow. There are many styles and theories on which treatment is the best according to a certain condition. Individual therapy has shown to be significantly effective, according to the American Psychological Association.

Individual therapy is a safe place you can go to have your mental health needs met. Continue reading to learn five benefits of individual therapy.

Improve Relationships

This may sound odd, attend individual therapy to improve relationships. Why wouldn’t you just attend group therapy with the ones in whom you are in a relationship? In a perfect world, attending relationship counseling would resolve all issues. However, this is not a perfect world.

Sometimes your partner does not want to attend therapy. Sometimes partners can monopolize the session.

Furthermore, group therapy or couples therapy may not always resolve issues. Often, individual therapy adds that extra needed treatment to help relationships thrive.

You can gain relationship skills in individual therapy. Your therapist can teach you communication skills, conflict resolution and even how to improve intimacy. Your therapist can also teach you how to set boundaries in your relationships and become more assertive.

There may be subjects or secrets you are not ready to share with a loved one in couples counseling just yet. Individual therapy can help prepare you for sharing valuable information when you are ready.

Individual therapy gives you the opportunity to express emotions you may have held back on in group therapy. It allows you time for yourself, to be heard, and to be empowered.

Empowerment

The process of becoming stronger and more independent is called empowerment. With individual therapy, you are supported by your therapist in claiming your strengths and how to use them to improve your mental and physical well-being.

Individual therapy teaches you how to be determined and committed to standing up for yourself, resolving issues on your own, and doing what is best for you, not everyone else. It also allows you to challenge negative thoughts.

Empowerment helps you determine your values. It also helps you set goals and achieve them. Personal empowerment comes from within. It does not mean having power over someone else.

Personal power means you are confident and love yourself no matter what others around you are doing. It puts you in charge of your life, your feelings, your thoughts and your behaviors. It puts you in charge of your own decisions and your own consequences.

These decisions may include lifestyle choices, changing negative behaviors into positive ones.

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Lifestyle Changes

Habits are very hard to break, especially alone without support. Individual therapy gives you time to focus on habits that may be harmful to your lifestyle. You and your therapist will work together to find ways to assist you in making these changes.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one technique your therapist may use to help you distinguish between good and bad behaviors. He or she will then help you change negative patterns. Changing your thinking can lead to changing behaviors and feelings about the habit holding you back.

Lifestyle changes are ultimately up to you. Your therapist is there to assist you in the process.

Stress Reduction

Stress is linked to many physical ailments, including severe problems such as heart disease and stroke. You may not even realize just how much stress you are under. You just keep plugging away at all of life’s requirements.

You may even be successfully performing all your many roles now. However, this can only go on for so long before stress takes over.

Stress affects your mental health. It causes concentration problems and memory loss. It has been linked to weight gain due to the hormone cortisol that gets released in the body. It can cause physical aches and pains such as migraines and joint pain.

In individual therapy, you can learn stress relieving techniques that you can practice every day. You do not have to immediately sign up for a yoga meditation class, although that may help too. Instead, your therapist can teach you small methods for stress reduction.

These may include deep breathing, stretching or journaling. These are techniques that can help you find yourself and get to know more about yourself.

Another way to deal with stress is through talk therapy, often used by counselors.

Get to Know Yourself

It is easy to answer the superficial questions when someone asks you about your likes and dislikes. You can quickly tell them the foods you love or the movies you hate. You have no trouble stating where you would like to go on vacation or which celebrity you would like to meet.

What about the more difficult questions? Individual therapy can help you answer the challenging questions like why you feel sad at certain times of the year. Therapy can help you determine what you fear and why. Individual therapy can help you understand why you hold a grudge, why it is hard to forgive or why you both hate and love yourself at times.

Your individual therapist is trained to help you search deep inside yourself for the answers you are seeking. You have all the answers within. You may need help getting to the point where you can recognize them and have more awareness of what you are willing to change to get to the goals you desire. 

Getting to know yourself can mean answering questions and telling the truth about where you are and where you want to be. It is not about comparing yourself to other people.

Comparing yourself to other people is not going to help you grow and reach your potential. With individual counseling, you can learn to change the thoughts that lead you to believe other people have it better than you in life.

They do not have it better. They have it different. Your life is just as meaningful as the next person’s. Your therapist can teach you methods to start recognizing just how great you are.

Finding a good individual therapist requires a little bit of work but it is completely worth the effort. You put effort into everything that is important to you, from buying a home or car to choosing a family doctor. This is no different.

Start asking friends and family for referrals. Call reputable agencies in the area and ask them for a referral. Do what you can to find the right counselor for you so you can get the attention you deserve!

 


Chris Massman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Agoura Hills, CA. She graduated Phillips Graduate Institute with a Master of Arts in Psychology in 2014 and received her Chemical Dependency Specialty in 2014. Today, she practices Congnitive-behavioral therapy to help individuals, couples, and families identify and overcome a variety of unique challenges.