Are you troubled by your life experiences or traumatic events? Are you having difficulty in a relationship? Do you find yourself having a hard time overcoming a recent loss? Do you drink alcohol, use drugs or medication to take physical or emotional pain away? Do find yourself wanting to improve overall?
Counseling/Therapy is a treatment modality that uses specific techniques of caring that have been created to offer effective, long-lasting help for people suffering from a wide range of difficulties, such as clinical disorders, emotional distress, relationship issues, trauma, and loss, just to name a few. Therapy can also help fulfill the yearning for personal growth or self-improvement.
Clinical Disorder or Condition
A Clinical Disorder is a series or group of behaviors that equal or match a list of expected behaviors listed in, "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.
Those who have certain Clinical Conditions can benefit from a dual treatment of medication and therapy depending on their diagnosis by a medical professional. For instance, research shows that individuals with conditions such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, eating disorders, major depression or anxiety disorders benefit significantly more from a combination of therapy and medication than just medication alone.
The diagnosis is important in many cases because it guides the clinician to a particular treatment modality that will be best suited for the client. Keep in mind that you, as the client, should research the professional you are seeking help from, as you want to ensure the individual is licensed and that the Counselor or Therapist takes into consideration what you want and need as far as services go.
Everyone experiences emotional pain at one point in his or her life. But sometimes the distress is particularly severe or long-lasting and interferes with your ability to function in your daily life. If you are experiencing sadness, grief, or anxiety that is persistent, therapy can help relieve the symptoms, address the underlying causes for your distress, and provide you with help in restoring emotional well-being.
Your negative emotions or anxiety may be coming from difficulties in your relationship with a partner, spouse, parent, child or co-worker. Counseling can be a valuable resource in helping you understand the root of the problem , such as family patterns passed down generationally. Exploring unresolved child issues may provide you with the insight and skills you may need to improve and mend the relationships. Some of these relational issues may be sexual in nature--sexual dissatisfaction and sexual dysfunction are very common problems. These problems may or may not be related to past sexual abuse; a therapist can help you better understand via talk therapy what may be occurring. However, it can also be a medical issue.
Survivors of trauma, violence or abuse can feel so overwhelmed by feelings of fear, guilt, shame, anger, and/or helplessness making their ability to function effectively difficult to a point of impairment. Counseling can help provide a safe, confidential setting in which you can discuss your trauma, if you choose, in a supportive environment in which the therapist can assist you in finding ways to move forward with your life and giving you tools when you have setbacks, such as the case with flashbacks.
Experiencing a break from someone who is significantly important to you, through death or separation, can result in great emotional distress. Counseling can be significantly helpful in coping with the loss through the grieving process. Keep in mind, healing in many cases is a lifelong process.
Personal Growth- Self Improvement
Counseling can help you overcome obstacles that have kept you from reaching your full potential and becoming the person you always wanted to be. Although you might not have a clinical condition or symptoms, therapy can help assist you in learning more about yourself and how you can live your life, giving you deeper, personal satisfaction.
Food For Thought
Why I became a Counselor- I wanted to become a counselor because I wanted to figure out why my father, Armando, and younger brother ,Willie, and other relatives committed suicide and had other mental health issues. I initially started with studying pre-medicine in college, due to death of my father as a result of his self-inflicted fatal gunshot wound to the head after a night of drinking which occurred when I was just ten-years -old. I subsequently went to medical school for a brief period after the second family death involving the drowning suicide of my best friend and younger sibling, Willie, who was seventeen- years-old at the time of his death. I was twenty-two and just completed my undergraduate degree, however, uninterested in solely medicine, because it did not answer my lingering life questions of why these traumatic, life changing events occurred in my nuclear family. I quickly left medical school and did some soul searching which led me eventually to counseling as a career, because I wanted to help those who were suffering and suffered as my family members and myself had suffered.
My first encounter with counseling, that I can recall, was when I was approximately fifteen- years-old. I was the only person available and willing to take my younger brother, Willie, to a treatment center for substance abuse, depression and drug induced psychosis. I remember visiting him on family night, in which family members were allowed to visit the patient who is being hospitalized for treatment. When I first saw him, after a couple weeks of counseling, I saw this brilliant smile again that he had always carried with him, which always lit up the room when he was not suffering from his mental health disease. He described how talking to others in group therapy, who had similar issues, had helped him. He stated that he had a counselor, and that he wanted me to meet his counselor who was helping him work through his problems. He also described the 12 step programs of AA/ NA, Alcoholic Anonymous /Narcotics Anonymous, programs geared to his recovery for the addictions. From this interaction, I was left with a lasting memory that I later used to fuel my desire to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
I have learned through my professional life and personal traumas, that we can use what has happened not to bring us down but to build us up. It is our choice what we do with our thoughts and feelings-- we can focus on the past or work on making our future better. Sometimes I have learned it just takes a little guidance by someone to help us see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and the sun will shine again!