Work on Your Wellness: Therapy and Counseling
For some IT pros, managing stress can be quite a struggle. Depending on one’s mental state, it might be prudent to seek professional help. Letting stress build up can lead to an overwhelming situation.
Therapy or counseling is a joint or shared effort between a therapist or counselor and a client. The right therapy can help people deal effectively with mental and emotional issues, thereby helping them to lead more balanced and productive lives.
Talking with a trained therapist or counselor presents an opportunity to explore your mental activity — thoughts, concerns, anxieties, obsessions, and emotions — in a non-judgmental way. Therapy or counseling also helps you learn how to cope with different situations.
A qualified therapist or counselor will diagnose your condition and help you develop appropriate approaches and techniques to handle the different stresses that come up in daily life and the symptoms associated with them.
According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 75 percent of participants in talk therapy derive some benefit. A therapist or counselor will help you identify unhealthy habits and work on changing them.
Sometimes, habits form in response to feelings of unhappiness, anxiety, ennui, and helplessness. Attending to these emotions directly whenever they come up can help break the chain of behavior. Replacing a bad habit with a healthy one is another way of getting rid of unhealthy habits.
A benefit that many gain from therapy is the development of self-observation or reflective awareness, which means looking at and assessing our mental processes. This helps one understand why certain reactions occur and how to change them.
When to Seek Counseling or Therapy
The thought of talking to a therapist or counselor may have crossed your mind at some point or other. Perhaps you were not sure whether you really needed to, or perhaps you felt that the problem was temporary and would disappear soon. Some might feel that they are just too occupied with work and other commitments and don’t consider it a priority.
Realizing when you need therapy or counseling can be somewhat difficult. Most IT pros experience job-related stress, problematic relationships with a colleague or a senior, and trouble balancing work and life at some time over the course of their careers. Everyone has high-pressure days and feels overwhelmed now and then.
You might need to talk with a counselor or therapist if you are:
Finding it hard to manage stress — Do you lose your temper or get irritated too often? Is your efficiency suffering? Do you tend to panic often at work? A therapist can help you address causes of stress, develop strategies to manage stress, and help you to sort out some issues that lead to high stress.
Struggling to balance emotions — Are you overcome by anxiety or anger too often? Do these emotions predominate? A good therapist will introduce you to techniques that can help reduce anxiety or manage anger.
Developing unhealthy habits as a means of diversion — Have you started drinking or overeating to divert yourself from problems that need solving? Or, do you keep watching TV to escape from work-related stress? Counseling or therapy can help you cope with stress in a positive way, face problems, and solve them.
Not as productive as you used to be — Do you frequently find it difficult to concentrate at work and relate to others? Anxiety and discontent may be getting in the way and affecting your work. A therapist can help you assess your emotions and develop skills to think about circumstances at work in a different way so that your mood gradually improves.
Finding a Therapist or Counselor
It’s very important to find the right therapist. No one wants to wasting time or money on therapy. It’s only when therapist and client establish a bond and work as a team that therapy can be effective. A counselor or therapist who can help you balance your emotions, develop self-awareness and self-esteem, and become a stronger person would be someone who aligns with certain criteria.
A competent therapist should be:
Experienced — In particular, you want to meet with someone who has experience treating people with the kind of issues you have, and helping them make positive changes in their lives. Some therapists specialize in certain areas, such as depression or panic attacks. Find out about specializations before you fix an appointment.
Trustworthy and Caring — Your therapist will ask you about your personal and professional life. Ask yourself whether you can comfortably discuss the problems you’re facing, fears and anxieties, and intimate aspects of your life. It’s necessary that he is genuinely interested in partnering with you on the road to recovery.
Committed — You want to work with an individual who is devoted to their work. You should look for someone who has a strong and active interest in helping clients change their behavior and improve mental health.
Take time to ask around and explore different options before you decide. You can ask your general physician for a referral, or friends and relatives who have been in therapy for similar problems, as well as search online and peruse ratings and reviews of local practitioners.
It’s a good idea to meet multiple therapists before you decide. When you interview a potential therapist, ask questions to find out about their experience, types of treatment he offers, and expected duration of therapy. You also need to verify any potential therapist’s licensing.
Common Types of Helpful Therapy
Behavioral therapy — This approach aims to change unhealthy behavioral dispositions by helping patients learn different ways of handling emotions and dealing with problems.
Cognitive therapy — In cognitive therapy, the therapist focuses on helping the patient face his thoughts, identify unhealthy thought patterns and baseless beliefs or assumptions, and change his thinking for the better.
Holistic therapy — Holistic therapy combines different approaches. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy combines behavioral and cognitive therapies.
Low-Cost Options and Payment Assistance
In the United States, comprehensive insurance coverage isn’t normally available for therapy and/or counseling. Some insurance companies pay only for a specific number of sessions.
Some therapists accept only direct payments from clients. However, some of these therapists will work out a sliding scale payment arrangement whereby the client pays what he can afford per session. Online therapy is sometimes more affordable than in-person therapy because online therapists have often lower overhead.
Some mental health clinics and organizations offer discounts on therapy. You might want to ask around for information about such places. Some clinics offer internships, so it’s possible for a client to consult an intern. This is more affordable. Sometimes, it can work out well if an intern is well-trained, sincere, compassionate, and eager to help. However internships are of limited duration, so a client may need to look for another therapist sooner than anticipated.
Some clinics in the United States offer the option of bartering services for therapy. Tech pros might want to consider offering tech support or programming services in exchange for professional mental healthcare, provided their employer permits and if it suits them.
Ultimately, therapy is a joint effort between therapist and client. Hourly sessions a few times a week alone will not be effective if the patient doesn’t take responsibility and do her bit in the course of her daily life. It’s important to take a long hard look at yourself and your situation, face problems, follow your therapist’s advice, and work to improve your responses.