The obvious benefits of counseling include finding solutions and coping strategies for the specific reason you sought therapy in the first place. For example, if you're struggling with depression, working with a therapist should result in you seeing an improvement in your depression symptoms. However, there are also added or hidden benefits of counseling that many are unaware of.
Winter is still months away, but let's imagine building a snowman for a minute. If you've ever made a snowman (which we're guessing most of you have at some point in your life,) you always start at the bottom. It is the largest piece of the snowman, and it creates the foundation for the growth of the snowman as you put the additional sections on.
But, you don't just start with a giant mound of snow. You make a small snowball. Then, you roll the snowball around the snow-covered yard. As you roll the ball, it begins to gather more and more snow. So, the snowball begins to grow into that large snowman base you were looking for.
Therapy often works the same way. You show up to meet with your therapist about one small, specific challenge you are facing, an obstacle in your life, or a symptom you're experiencing. As you begin to work with your therapist, you start to notice a little bit of progress. As you consistently work on addressing that one challenge, you begin seeing bigger transformations as you go. Your progress grows.
And one of the beautiful things about therapy is that it often leads you to improvements in other areas of your life too. So here are some additional ways therapy and counseling can help.
1. Improved self-esteem
Self-esteem is connected with mental health. For example, research has found that when people struggle with anxiety and depression, they are also likely to struggle with their self-esteem. Likewise, when people struggle with their self-esteem, they may find symptoms of anxiety and depression worsen.
However, this fact is often overlooked when you're in the midst of living life. So, even if you seek therapy for a different reason, you may notice an improvement in your self-esteem as you begin to progress.
2. Learn how to make better decisions
There are many reasons why we may find ourselves struggling with decision making. It could be that we lack self-confidence and don't trust ourselves to make wise decisions. It could be that we've made wrong decisions in the past and are fearful of repeating the same mistakes. Or, it could be that we are struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder that can make it tough to make decisions.
And, just like there are many reasons we struggle, there are just as many ways therapy can help us improve our decision making skills.
You can learn to look at situations from a new perspective through therapy. You can also learn how to forgive yourself for past decisions you've made and begin to trust yourself again. In addition, it can be helpful to talk to someone else outside of your everyday life about the big decisions you are making in your life.
3. Learning how to manage daily stress
A mental health myth in society says therapy is only for people with serious mental health conditions. While it's true that therapy can help people living with diagnosable mental health disorders, it can also help you if you're struggling with everyday stress.
While working with a therapist, you can identify where stress stems from in your life and what you can do to address it. Your therapist can also help you learn effective coping strategies to use when you face daily stress and anxiety.
4. Transforming negative thinking and negative self-talk
Your thoughts can have a significant impact on your feelings and behaviors. Negative thoughts and negative self-talk can negatively impact your health and wellness.
The good news is that you can learn to transform your thought life.
Therapy can help you learn to identify negative thought patterns in your life and the impact they are having. Your therapist can help you learn strategies to identify, confront, and replace these negative thoughts. Then, as your thoughts begin to improve, you may also notice improvements in other areas of your life.
5. Improved communication skills
Good communication skills are essential for establishing healthy relationships in life. Of course, it's important that you're able to communicate your thoughts, opinions, and needs to those you are in a relationship with. But it's also essential that you can listen to and receive the messages of others as well. And communication is also an important part of learning to set healthy boundaries for yourself.
Learning to improve your communication skills can be a hidden benefit you experience during therapy sessions. As you learn more about yourself and reflect on different situations in your life, you will likely have new realizations about yourself and your relationships with others. This can help you identify areas of your communication that you can improve, including communication with yourself.
6. Greater ability to manage your emotions
There are many reasons why you may struggle with recognizing and managing your emotions. For example, it could be that you have a mental health disorder that makes managing your emotions challenging or that you were never taught how to recognize your emotions as a child.
Struggling to identify emotions can add to daily stress and cause challenges in relationships with romantic partners, friends, family, and the workplace.
To learn how to manage emotions, you will need to identify what emotions you're feeling. A therapist can help you improve your emotional awareness and manage the emotions you're experiencing at any given moment.
7. Get to the root cause of anxiety
We often want quick fixes in life. Unfortunately, it's common for people to look for the "band-aid" fix to address the symptoms instead of getting to the bottom of where the challenge is coming from. Many online articles and videos share strategies for managing anxiety. Still, they aren't able to help you get to the root cause of your anxiety the way a therapist can help.
Working with a therapist allows you to look at the specifics of your situation and life. This can help you find areas of your life that are causing you anxiety. Then, when you know what things are adding to your anxiety, you can begin to address it. In some instances, this can help people heal from difficult situations, so they are free from anxiety related to that in the future.
It can also be helpful to work with a therapist to address your anxiety, so you have support and accountability as you move forward. In addition, your therapist can teach you strategies for coping with anxiety and help you learn to implement them in your daily life.
8. Receive validation
Having someone validate your thoughts and feelings can be like a breath of fresh air. You may not even realize how much you would like this in your life until you experience it. A therapist can provide a safe and validating space for you. This is why some people seek therapy in the first place. Still, for many, it's an unexpected benefit they discover at the moment.
9. Experience more productivity in life
You may not think to try therapy to improve productivity in life, but it's often one of the added benefits. For example, you may be spending more time than you realize on things like worrying and arguing, or you may struggle with a lack of motivation due to anxiety or depression.
As you work with your therapist to address other areas of your life, you may have a renewed motivation to take action. You may also find that your head is cleared up to think more and be more productive when you aren't struggling with anxiety and depression as much.
A therapist can also help you identify your priorities and improve your schedule. Learning time management strategies may help you feel less stressed and more productive.
10. Feel empowered to work toward your goals
It's hard to have dreams for the future or work toward goals when you're struggling with your mental health or dealing with challenges in a relationship. However, as you see improvements in the area you sought counseling for, you may start to dream again for your future. You rediscover the goals that you used to have for your life.
Your therapist can help you identify goals you can work toward that move you in the direction of your dreams. And as you experience the benefits of therapy, you may feel more empowered to create positive change in your life.
Benefits of counseling at The NEST Clinic
We are incredibly proud of our team of therapists and counselors in Stillwater, MN. You'll find that each of our experienced licensed mental health providers specializes in the areas they are passionate about. This means we can help connect you with the right therapist for your unique needs.
Our team takes a proactive approach to provide integrated, holistic care with plans personalized just for you.
An added benefit of working with The NEST Clinic is having access to our Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. By having options for medication management and hormone therapy, we can benefit you by collaborating with two professionals (your therapist and our Nurse Practitioner) to create the best treatment plan for you.
If you're ready to start your therapy journey or look for a therapist who is right for you, we invite you to call us at 651-425-9297 to explore your counseling options at The NEST Clinic in Stillwater.