I was recently inspired by a blog I read by Dr. John Grohol, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central (www.psychcentral.com). In reflecting and writing on client-counsellor fit, I have been thinking a lot about counselling and psychotherapy from the client’s perspective. Dr. Grohol’s discussion highlighted how a few sessions of psychotherapy can positively contribute to mental health. In other words, investing in this time is well worth the effort, especially given how impactful it can be on one’s quality of life. Moreover, I was struck by his positive tone, putting psychotherapy in a bright light – helping to unleash it from the silence that stigma too often brings. I liken psychotherapy to any other aspect of our well-being that requires a check-in, boost, and/or maintenance. After all, we likely do not think twice about taking our car in for maintenance, fixing the house, seeing the doctor or dentist, and so on. Our mental, emotional, and relational well-being is just as important!
Dr. Grohol went on to comment how the right fit in psychotherapy is “vitally important” – I couldn’t agree more! He stated that this tends to be a process of “trial and error.” While I hear that a lot, I think this is an aspect of psychotherapy that needs a lot more exploration and discussion – watch for my future blogs about the topic of reducing trial-and-error with collaborative consultation.
My core message for this blog, though, is the idea that finding a therapist who helps instill hope, inspiration, and boosts motivation are aspects that have many benefits. One might even suggest that these are vital ingredients to making change(s) in some aspect of life happen. Think about other relationships in your life and how you feel and think when you are around positive people. Sometimes we need that boost of energy and inspiration from others when it is challenging to find it from within.
I think, too, the more we conceptualize counselling and psychotherapy as one part of a holistic plan toward personal well-being, the shift toward de-stigmatizing therapy gets a boost. A collective, cultural movement will hopefully also help send the message that Dr. Grohol discussed. Psychotherapy surpasses the notion of symptom relief to include helping people learn new ways to enhance and manage various aspects of life for ongoing well-being.
Conceptualizing mental health and psychotherapy as making a healthy choice, being preventive, and taking a step toward a better life is fostered the more that message is heard, read, and discussed. This suggests that psychotherapists help spread this message and enact it in their work with clients. Shifting gears from mental health as illness, pathology, and disease sets the stage for getting inspired about psychotherapy!
The views expressed are mine alone and do not reflect the views of the CCPA. Dr. Debbie Grove is a therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta. To learn more about her, visit her web site at www.learningtolive.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA