As a therapist I often find myself interested in what it is that those in the non-therapy world think of this profession. What is it that people are typing into google to try and find the magic solutions that they so desperately want and need? Is it a “counselor near me”, or perhaps the symptoms experienced “depression”, or “anxiety”, maybe it’s just a desperate cry for help for yourself or to “save my marriage” . What is it exactly that draws us into “counseling” in the first place?
As we have evolved as a society, has what we do as therapists gained validity in the world at large? For so many years I think the belief was that you must be “crazy” if you needed to see one of us. But as we’ve evolved I’d like to think so has that belief. We are starting to see therapy as just good maintenance work. Like an annual physical at your doctor. There are many other cultures that see therapy as just that, a way to maintain good health, both mentally and physically.
As the mind body connection continues to gain acceptance, we increasingly understand the impact that our minds have and play on our overall health, particularly with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and others. Countless studies have proven that when we are in good mental health our bodies are often in good health also. Most of the stress we carry in our bodies is due to psychological stress (anxiety about the next day, year etc) vs physical stress (needing to run away from a would be murderer). At our core we are animals. Animals in the wild are faced with life and death on a daily basis, but they are not faced with the chronic diseases we are. Why is that? It is because they are able to release that stress through physical activity or perhaps even a loud roar.
Imagine if we could just yell and run around each time something upset us? We’d live in a pretty chaotic world, right? But if we could be more like animals, we would see the positive impact it has on releasing stress and therefore on our bodies and our health. Since yelling and running is rarely an option, what are we left to do?
This is where our mental health, and maintenance of it, becomes critical. We need to release that psychological stress in a productive way or else risk it getting stuck in our bodies and beginning to impact our health negatively. Simply talking about an issue can give us new insight, resolve and release, along with exercise, meditation, and other various methods to move that toxic energy out of our bodies to free us up to be our best selves.