Here at the Limerick Mental Health Association, we firmly believe that our mental health should receive the same amount of effort and attention as our physical health. Counselling (or what is also known as psychotherapy) can be of great benefit in times of crisis and involves one or a series of one-on-one sessions with a trained professional. It often tends to be an ongoing process with a timeline agreed mutually by the attendee and therapist and can help with difficulties surrounding relationships, bereavement, addiction or indeed any trauma an individual may find themselves confronted with at any point in life.
Counselling requires the individual to work with a professional therapist to identify a particular problem before working together to find a solution. There is a commitment on both sides and it can bring about great change.
Here are some benefits of counselling you may not have considered.
1. Works in Tandem with Other Treatments
Although pretty much anyone can benefit from counselling, it can also work well in tandem with other key supports to recovery such as prescribed medication. Indeed, one can complement the other to help achieve optimum wellness for the individual.
2. Offers an Unbiased Perspective
When you feel weighed down with an ongoing problem or issue, it is difficult to look at it objectively. However, when you articulate your thoughts and emotions, it allows you to see them from a different perspective. Many people find it beneficial to talk openly to a stranger (such as a professional therapist) in a safe space without judgement so that a realistic and workable solution can be found.
3. Can Empower You for the Future
Counselling can also equip you with many useful tools to help identify and stop unhealthy behaviours and ultimately improve your life. It can also help improve interpersonal skills if necessary. For example, a marriage counsellor might equip couples with some new communication skills to help enhance their relationship whilst an addiction counsellor may pass on tips to help someone avoid the self-destructive behaviour of their past.
4. Promotes Self-Care
Most of us lead incredibly busy lives but it is important to remember that self- care and selfishness are two very different concepts. We often tend to think of self-care in terms of grooming—hair cuts, massages, facials, etc.—but it’s far more than that. It involves taking care of yourself both inside and out by eating well, relaxing, monitoring your stress levels, enjoying physical activity and looking for meaning and purpose in life. Counselling can also be a contributing factor to good self-care for many people.
5. Improves Physical Health
Though it is obvious that therapy places the focus primarily on mental health and wellbeing, it can also have the added advantage of improving physical wellness. Benefits including increased energy, deeper sleep and a better appetite have been observed in many individuals who have attended counselling.
Keen to learn more about registered counsellors in your area? Visit the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for more information.
Written by AnneMarie McDonnell, a volunteer with the Limerick Mental Health Association and graduate of the University of Limerick.