Before launching into a list of 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Therapy, let’s look at a concept that empowers therapy clients plus the public at large: Mental Health is an entity all its own, not a medical problem.
Psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser specialized in Reality Theory and Choice Theory. He defined mental health as an entity separate from the medical model of mental illness in his teachings and 2005 booklet, Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Issue: A New Leadership Role for the Helping and Healing Professions. That distinction, which does not apply to persons with personality, thought or mood disorders, has a profound relevance to the way distraught or maladjusted people are regarded and treated until today. It means that unhappy people sometimes act out their unhappiness in unproductive or counterproductive ways. The behaviors and the thoughts preceding those unproductive or counterproductive behaviors can be prevented from starting or continuing by teaching mental health strategies which promote mental health with clear thinking.
In brief, Glasser taught that feeling victimized, hurt or sad is not a valid reason to disrupt the lives of other people. Human beings can make choices to direct their futures and fortunes in productive ways that don’t damage anyone. Glasser also taught that the western world’s focus on mental illness versus mental health sabotages mental health from the get-go. His overall message is that “This is an illness model that recognizes symptoms, looks for pathology to support those symptoms, but does not diagnose disease unless supportive pathology is found. But when this model is used to diagnose a mental illness such as those described in the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [ED: a standard text in the psychological industry], one of the basic tenets of the medical model is ignored… mental illness is diagnosed from symptoms alone and no pathology is required… as long as mental health professionals continue to use the medical model to deliver what they call mental health, they will never be able to embrace the concept that mental health is an entity completely separate from mental illness…”
Glasser decried the tendency to medicate people experiencing poor mental health. That tendency supports a pharmaceutical industry cashing in on money and power, the tools for maintaining a vicious cycle in which “… physicians are in charge…but the medical model has serious flaws…” He meant that patients merely follow a doctor’s orders, experiencing the side-effects of the medications they take, but not necessarily improved mental health. Glasser cited psychiatric medication as placebos which end troubling symptoms in several instances, but don’t facilitate happiness. His asserted that happiness comes from mentally healthy behavior and choices that serve people well on a daily basis, and as responses to stress. No external controlling efforts are involved. A person generates their own positive point of view by choice.
Thanks to Glasser and like-minded advocates, the misunderstanding of mental health as simple cause and effect has been replaced with the truth that almost anyone can choose to focus on happiness-generating behaviors and choices. Now we can look at 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Therapy from the perspective of Personal Empowerment:
- Talk Therapy empowers people. Art Therapy, Bereavement Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, among others, enable people to function as clients, not as medicated patients separated from free will by brain-altering drugs and disempowering doctors.
Talk therapy is reputable, having helped thousands of people worldwide to resolve problematic thinking patterns, to improve their relationships and to develop ever-better self-respect. Talk therapy promotes insight, a greater understanding of the issues at hand, and the choices one can make to better deal with problems.
- Therapy is a respected means for improving physical health. Stressed minds evoke the creation of chemicals that deplete adrenal gland health.They damage hearts, brains, and more. Medical evidence pointing to stress as the cause of some cancers is accruing.
- Therapy can help a person to sort out mistaken ideas from valid thoughts. That enables a person to make healthy emotional responses, and to bypass misguided or harmful choices and thinking patterns. Sometimes a person is so beset by various pressures that they need help in separating facts from fictions, and guilt trips from reasonable expectations.
- Therapy has financial benefits. Getting life in order rather than succumbing to crisis after crisis allows a person to maintain employment. They can more easily earn money with reduced stress and happier minds.
- Therapy is a safety mechanism. By calming down with therapy, people can prevent rash decisions and behaviors that might involve regrettable, even criminal decisions. Therapists can help clients to weigh the pros and cons of various decisions so that counterproductive behaviors lose their appeal to stressed clients seeking revenge or power. Clients who benefit from therapy can have longer, healthier lives with satisfying outcomes rather than lifetimes of heartache that can’t be undone.
The above reasons point to empowerment: Clients make their own decisions rather than being in a demeaning, one-down position to a controlling individual who medicates them into inactivity. Seek out an empowering therapist who helps you to bring out your best, day after day, no matter the challenge.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.